Farmers from Siangsihliao (相思寮) in Changhua County’s Erlin Township (二林) yesterday urged the government to preserve the farming community within the planned Erlin section of the Central Taiwan Science Park.
The farmers said they refuse to be removed from their homes and farmland to make way for the science park even though the Changhua County Government had proposed accommodating them in a housing complex next to the park.
“Losing the farmland means losing our jobs. Even though we will receive cash compensation, what are we going to do after we use up the money?” one farmer, surnamed Hung (洪), asked at a press conference at the legislature.
The farmers said an evaluation report provided by the Central Taiwan Science Park Administration on Feb. 8 showed it was possible to preserve the farming community if the administration adjusts the construction plan of the Erlin section’s roads and sewage system.
However, the government still rejected the farmers’ suggestion to preserve their community, saying that changing the plan would affect the timetable for companies to set up factories in the Erlin section, the farmers said.
John Liu (劉可強), a professor at National Taiwan University’s Graduate Institute of Building and Planning, said the government and the farmers could reach a mutually beneficial solution if the government keeps the Siangsiliao community intact.
In response to Changhua farmers’ petition, however, Yang Wen-ke (楊文科), director-general of the central science park administration, dismissed the possibility of preserving the community, saying that Siangsiliao’s farmland was located in the center of the planned Erlin section of the park.
Yang said the government would have to submit the development project for another environmental impact review if the government revises the project.
The farmers’ campaign against land expropriation has made headlines after footage and photographs of the land seizure at Miaoli County’s Dapu Borough (大埔) attracted millions of hits on the Internet.
The Executive Yuan tried to resolve the controversy on Thursday by promising the farmers farmland equal to their original land off the Jhunan Science Park. Although Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said the government would not take changing the status of specific agricultural areas for granted when drawing up policy, a number of land seizure projects, including Siangsihliao’s, remain under way.
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