A plan to build a cement plant on Lanyu (蘭嶼) is likely illegal, the Ministry of the Interior, the National Property Administration and the Council of Indigenous Peoples said yesterday, despite the Taitung County Government’s and Lanyu Township Office’s insistence that they have completed all legal requirements for the project.
“The Council of Indigenous Peoples has been closely following the controversy and at first, the county and the township governments told us that they were carrying out the project in accordance with the law. However, after looking at it more closely, we concluded that there is something suspicious about it, so we asked them to halt construction,” Tsao Kai-ling (曹凱玲), a section chief at the council’s Department of Land Administration, told a news conference at the Legislative Yuan.
“The plot of land they are planning to use for the plant is an Aboriginal reserve and anyone wishing to develop such land needs to receive permission from the council as stipulated by the Aboriginal Basic Act (原住民族基本法) and the Regulations on Development and Management of the Lands Reserved for the Indigenous Peoples (原住民族保留地開發管理辦法),” he added.
The council has called a meeting of the county government, the township office and other relevant government agencies later this week to clarify the legal issues, Tsao said.
He was referring to the legality of the approval given by the county government and the township office to allow Yu-ta Engineering Corp to build the plant near Donching Village (東清).
The villagers are strongly against it, questioning the need for a new cement batch plant since there are already two on the island. They have also panned the government for making the decision without consulting local resident or the law.
The township office responded by saying that the cement plant will only be temporary and will stand on state property, thus it only needs to receive permission from the county government.
The National Property Administration disagreed.
“The plot of land is owned by the Republic of China government, but it’s administered by the council,” administration official Huang Tsai-yeh (黃彩葉) said. “We respect the council’s decision on the matter.”
Lin Hsu-lin (林旭淋), an official at the ministry’s Department of Land Administration, echoed Huang.
“If a facility is temporarily occupying the plot of land, the township office or the county government should clarify how long it will be there and the project still needs permission from the relevant central government authority, which in the case of the cement plant, is the council,” Lin said. “I don’t recall seeing any documents showing the county government applying for permission from the council, so I think the project may be in violation of the Regional Planning Act (區域計畫法).”
Dongching Village Self-Help Organization vice president Si Epep said the village would file a complaint with the Control Yuan, asking it to launch a probe into administrative faults on behalf of the county government and township office over the project.