Tensions high over 4-rivers project

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Tensions high over 4-rivers project

Tensions are running high after the government this week declared it will take over the development rights of the four-rivers restoration project from South Gyeongsang Province, which has been delaying the project.

An association representing mayors and county heads based in South Gyeongsang held a press conference yesterday welcoming the Lee Myung-bak administration’s move, making it clear that they don’t support the position of South Gyeongsang Governor Kim Du-gwan.

Kim, who is against the project, said he wants minimize the impact of the project, which he sees as being harmful to the environment.

“We mayors and county heads demand that South Gyeongsang end the wasteful debate over the government’s taking over the project and work together with mayors and county heads to save the Nakdong River,” a statement issued by the association reads.

Among the city and county heads that participated in the statement were the mayors of Changwon, Miryang and Jinju.

The association’s announcement comes just a day after the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs formally notified the South Gyeongsang Provincial Government on Monday that it would directly oversee 13 construction sites to refurbish the Nakdong River, taking away control from the province.

South Gyeongsang said it will take the matter to court “if the central government cancels [the South Gyeongsang government’s] rights.”

The Busan Regional Construction Management Administration yesterday held a meeting with construction companies in charge of refurbishing the Nakdong River and asked them to quickly move forward with the project on the Nakdong River.

Construction company officials who attended the meeting hailed the Busan administration’s actions.

“Construction on our company’s site has been delayed for six months but I guess it will pick up speed because the Busan administration is so willing to speedily carry out construction,” said a construction company official surnamed Choi.

The Busan administration also asked the Public Procurement Service to transfer control of the Nakdong River project from South Gyeongsang Province to itself.

The Public Procurement Service is currently seeking agreements from construction companies. Of the 13 construction sites, South Gyeongsang oversees 10 sites on the Nakdong River.

By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]
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