Tue, Nov 15, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Protest threatened over Aerotropolis

LAND GRAB:Campaigners say the MOTC has failed to take into account any of the concerns and issues raised at three public hearings that it held about the project

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Housing rights campaigners demonstrate outside the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in Taipei yesterday over land expropriation plans that are part of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project.

Photo: CNA

Land rights campaigners and others opposed to forced evictions have threatened to launch a major protest if the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) fails to reduce the amount of land that is to be expropriated for the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Project.

About 3,000 hectares are to expropriated for the project, one of the landmark policies proposed by former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration.

The project has been questioned by Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦), who accused his predecessor, John Wu (吳志揚), of using the project to inflate property prices near Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

Cheng promised more transparency for the project when he ran for election.

The ministry has held three administrative hearings since May to allow local residents to voice their thoughts on the project, and several people asked for the amount of land to be expropriated to be reduced.

Campaigner Tien Kei-fung (田奇?) said that the agency planning to expropriate the land should adjust the project after the hearings in line with the complaints raised at the hearings.

However, the transportation ministry did not make any of the suggested changes and submitted its original plan to the Ministry of the Interior.

Yang Pin-wen (楊品妏), an Environmental Jurists Association specialist, said that the rules governing the administrative hearings that the interior ministry issued this month stipulate that the hearing should identify controversies and consensus, but the transportation ministry’s hearings failed to meet those standards.

The transportation ministry is simply using the hearings to protect itself, which is despicable, she said.

Luzhu District resident Lu Li-kuen (呂理坤) said that his borough lies at the edge of the designated area for the Aerotropolis project and is scheduled to be expropriated for building of the airport’s third runway.

The transportation ministry should not have to expropriate land in his borough because it can use a nearby naval base, which has 400 to 500 hectares, he said.

Lu said he wanted to know if the naval base was scheduled to be developed for commercial purposes and if that was why the government wants to expropriate property from private citizens for the Aerotropolis Project.

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