The New Power Party (NPP) yesterday pledged its support to environmental groups and Hsinchu County residents in their decades-long fight against the expropriation of more than 400 hectares of land for the “Puyu Project” (璞玉, uncut jade) — the third phase of expansion at the Hsinchu Science Park.
NPP Legislator Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) said that government agencies aim to forcibly expropriate large tracts of farmland for the project, which spans the county’s Cyonglin Township (芎林) and Jhubei City (竹北).
“Officials call it development, but in reality, it will wipe out the farmers,” she told a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
“It also requires large-scale water storage, and farmers would have to stop their cultivation and all farming would cease... The IT sector has specific requirements for clean water, so we ask government agencies to stop deceiving people, and to impose strict conditions for assessing and approving the project,” Chen said.
NPP Legislator Chiu Hsien-chi (邱顯智) was more blunt.
“There is no need to expropriate more than 400 hectares of farmland. This project would benefit some people who would profit through land speculation,” he said.
Areas in Hsinchu County already face severe water shortages because of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC) planned 2-nanometer chip fab, Environmental Rights Foundation researcher Hsu Po-jen (許博任) said, adding that the region does not have the capacity to support another large-scale development.
TSMC’s 2-nanometer chip fab in Baoshan Township (寶山) would need 120,000 tonnes of water each day, which would further deplete the water supply, Hsu said, estimating that within three to five years, the whole Hsinchu area would have water shortages throughout the year.
“When water supply is short, it results in overuse and increased pollutants in the rivers,” Taiwan Clean Water Action Alliance chairperson Peng Kuei-chih (彭桂枝) said.
If TSMC draws 120,000 tonnes of water a day, it would worsen the already polluted Toucian River (頭前溪), which could dry up periodically, Peng said.
Liu Ching-chang (劉慶昌), one of the farmers heading the fight against the Puyu Project since 2004, said that if the Ministry of the Interior approves the project, “we will launch a lawsuit.”
“They must not expropriate farmland to build commercial buildings, and to release industrial waste into the Touchien River. The project must be dismantled, and the land returned to local residents,” Liu said.
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