Thu, Mar 07, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Vice Premier promises to deliver on compensation

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Vice Premier Lin Hsin-yi (林信義) yesterday reassured farmers who were ordered to let their rice fields go fallow that the government would make good on its promise to compensate them for their losses.

"I can understand the radical reactions of some farmers because when the KMT was in power the government refused to pay compensation after the water problem was resolved," Cabinet spokesman Chuang Suo-hang (莊碩漢) quoted Lin as saying.

"I guarantee you that the Cabinet will make good on its promise to compensate farmers for their losses, although the water shortage problem may soon be resolved," Chuang said.

About 14,600 hectares of rice fields in the irrigation areas of Shihmen, Taoyuan County and Touchien River in Hsinchu County have been lying fallow since Friday in a bid to solve the Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park's water-shortage problem.

The Cabinet's Council of Agriculture is offering farmers hurt by the shortage compensation of NT$46,000 per hectare. Those who have planted rice seeds will receive an additional NT$9,100 per hectare, while those who have tilled the land and are ready for transplantation will receive additional NT$11,000 per hectare. Farmers who have transplanted rice seedlings will receive an additional NT$7,000 per hectare.

The total amount of compensation is estimated to be more than NT$1 billion. The council has managed to gather NT$290 million and will try to find another NT$710 million to make up the shortfall as soon as possible, Chuang said.

Although the water-shortage problem in the science park has been alleviated, the Water Resource Bureau began producing artificial rain near the Shihmen Dam in Taoyuan County, the Paoshan Reservoir in Hsinchu County and at a weather station in Chupei, Hsinchu County, yesterday morning.

Bureau officials said they may expand the area to Miaoli County today if the amount of cloud cover is sufficient.

On Tuesday, farmers in Chutung township, Hsinchu County, opened a water gate at the Chutung Irrigation Channel to direct water to their fields and away from the science park.

In Chonglin village, Hsinchu County, hundreds of farmers hired a bulldozer to crack open a stone wall built to divert water from an irrigation channel to the science park yesterday.

Meanwhile, Premier Yu Shyi-kun asked the Cabinet's Research, Development and Evaluation Commission to find out why it took so long for government officials to become aware of the water-shortage problem.

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