Imprecise identification of land use purposes harming landowners

The construction project of Long Thanh International Airport in Dong Nai Province is running, leading to significant price increases in land regardless of its use purpose. The precise identification of land use type, therefore, directly influences the right of local residents during land clearance compensation as well as trading.

Many kiosks of Thai Xuan Kien are identified by the local authorities as agricultural land

In 1990, Thai Xuan Kien, living in Phuoc Hai Quarter of Long Thanh Town in Long Thanh District, bought a land lot from Long Duc Commune People’s Committee. He then built a level-4 house and kiosks for household business on Vo Thi Sau Street and Ton Duc Thang Street. He lived stably with no dispute at all.

In 2012, he received from Long Thanh District People’s Committee a certification of land use right, house and related property owning on the lot BK 673546. The certificate specifies that of the surface area of 835.9 square meters, 300 square meters is of rural residential purpose.

To implement the above construction project, a surface area of 255.2 square meters of Kien was retrieved for the sake of Vo Thi Sau Street expansion. Even though this area has a house and kiosks for rent for a long time, Long Thanh District People’s Committee still identifies its use as agricultural purpose, with a land compensate of VND2.419 million (US$104) per square meter.

Kien insisted that the retrieved area belongs to the 300-square-meter part with rural residential purpose. This means a financial loss since the price of land with this purpose is VND13.4 million ($577) per square meter.

On November 3, 2020, Long Thanh District People’s Committee issued Notification No.2277/TB-UBND based on Decision No.41/2019/QD-UBND by Dong Nai Province People’s Committee, stating that “Households proposing land clearance compensation with a larger accommodation surface area than the residential area in the Red Book (land use right) has no basis for considering land compensation”.

However, the refusal to recognize 255.2/300 square meters of land as residential purpose is not logical. Nevertheless, in March 2022, the local authorities issued a notice of coercive measure, and on April 8, 2022 all buildings on this area were knocked down with no formal report on collecting or keeping properties.

Facing the same fate is Le Hong Mat from Tan Tien Ward of Bien Hoa City. He has a 2,255-square-meter land lot No.367, with the Red Book issued by Dong Nai Province Department of Natural Resources and Environment on June 29, 2017. In this lot, 250 square meters is classified as urban land and 1,934 square meters as perennial crop land.

To expand Ton Duc Thang Street, 535.4 square meters land of his was retrieved. The People’s Committee of the District identifies only 89.5 square meters of that area as urban land. In reality, on this retrieved land, there has been a level-4 house for rent for a long time with no agricultural production activity.

This is unacceptable since in a previous formal notification, Long Thanh District People’s Committee had agreed to compensate for his 250 square meters residential land, but in Decision No.5223/QD-UBND, this area is just 89.5 square meters.

Dong Nai Province has the intention to adjust its planning around the to-be Long Thanh International Airport, including land, traffic, construction planning. Many lots were considered as residential areas during 2015-2020 are now seen as perennial crop land, unknown to the public.

Land investors have been shocked with this news as they bought the lots with a high price, but cannot transfer their use purposes from agricultural to residential one because the local authorities are waiting for future versions of land planning from higher-level management. Other investors felt frustrated as their land lots belong to commercial or traffic construction projects, and the land compensation is based on the agricultural land price, which is rather low. They cannot sell their lots either, and are in danger of losing their money.