China recovers 18.63b yuan from illegal land use

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China recovered 18.63 billion yuan (2.85 billion U.S. dollars) from illegal land-use practices in 2010 with 8,612 persons held responsible, a senior official with the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) said Tuesday.

Gan Zangchun, deputy director-general of the land inspection authority under the ministry, made the remarks at a press conference concerning China's 2010 land inspections, adding that those responsible for the illegal practices have been punished or are under further investigation.

Gan said routine inspections in 77 of China's major cities resulted in the review and verification of 10,800 land-use approval cases at the provincial level, adding there were field inspections for 3,801 land-use cases for construction projects in 2010.

The recovered money included 4.06 billion yuan in fines for land misuse, 13.23 billion yuan in land transfer revenues, 497 million yuan in royalties for new construction sites and 843 million yuan in land reclamation fees, according to Gan.

The government also restored 62,400 mu (about 4,160 hectares) of land for cultivation, increased 47,000 mu of available farmland, and retrieved 55,300 mu of idle farmlands which remained unused after a project approval, Gan added.

He stressed that China will strive to defend its guarantee of 1.8 billion mu of farmlands for use during its 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015) while focusing on improving the quality of the farmlands.

Gan added that the country will work to protect the 1.56 billion mu of fundamental farmlands that are currently in use, explaining that these lands are of the best quality and are most suitable for grain production.

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