Taiwan's gov't vows to relocate illegal factories on farmland

Taipei, Jan. 4 (CNA) Illegal factories set up on Taiwan's farmland after May 20, 2016 that could cause pollution must be relocated to industrial zones, Vice Interior Minister Hua Ching-chun said Thursday.Hua made the remarks while explaining the government's policy to protect arable farmland at a news conference. The conference was called by a task force composed of the Ministry of the Interior, Council of Agriculture and Ministry of Economic Affairs to crack down on illegal constructions on farmland.To that end, the task force has been assigned with tearing down 17 illegal factories in the first phase of the program by the end of March -- eight in Changhua County, five in Kaohsiung City, two in Tainan City and one each in Yunlin and Chiayi counties. So far, two in Kaohsiung, two in Tainan and one in Chiayi have been dismantled.Hua stressed that large scale factories erected on farmland that could produce pollution will be required to move to industrial zones or parks. He added that the government will not legalize them on the spot as widely anticipated.Farm houses built on farmland will be dealt with in accordance with regulations governing agricultural development zones, Hua said.Speaking at the news conference, Deputy Minister of the Council of Agriculture Chen Chi-chung said at least 10 illegal factories built on farmland after May 20, 2016 are set to be demolished in the second stage of the program.In response to reporters' questions that the task force has been slow in tearing down such illicit factories on 1.3 hectares of some 6.7 hectares of farmland classified for non-agricultural activities, Chen said the policy is aimed at preventing the building of more new factories on farmland, rather them tearing down all of them.As to how farmland should be used after illegal factories have been removed, Chen said they will be re-designated in line with the government's projections.