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Ministry Demands Land Use Scrutiny
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China will increase scrutiny over land use, said a senior official with the Ministry of Land and Resources yesterday.

"At present, a resultant problem of this year's macro-economic development lies in the huge number and large size of newly-started projects," Pan Mingcai, director of ministry's department of farmland protection.

"That has not only led to the overheated investment in fixed assets, but will also push forward potential investment in the near future," he noted.

To reverse the situation, land and resources authorities at provincial level are urged to scrutinize construction project applications made to the State Council, Pan said, citing a ministry notice released on September 18.

This is a latest measure by the ministry since the State Council promulgated a notice to rein in the rampant investment in fixed assets in some sectors and regions through enhanced land control efforts early this month, officials said.

The focus of the new measure is to restrict the takeover of primary farmland and to enhance the approval procedure before soliciting land, Pan noted.

For projects that need provincial ratification or approval, land administrative departments are required to collaborate with development and reform authorities to draft explanations, said the document.

According to the country's Land Administration Law, three kinds of construction projects must be approved by the State Council before soliciting land: If it occupies primary farmland; if it uses arable farmland (not primary farmland) of more than 35 hectares, or if it uses other kinds of land surpassing 70 hectares.

In addition, approval from local authorities is needed on projects that could occupy primary farmland, said the ministry notice.

(China Daily September 27, 2006)

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