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MOI to disclose disqualified hostels

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) yesterday said that in two weeks he will announce the names of the hostels located within the middle- to high-risk scope at Cingjing Farm (清境農場) of Nantou County.

Lee's remarks came after legislators and local media outlets on Wednesday criticized Lee for refusing to reveal the names of disqualified hostel operators at Cingjing Farm to the public.

Lee held a press conference yesterday afternoon and said he is not afraid of offending hostel operators, noting that “it is easy to identify disqualified operators to the public, however, we have to consider the impact to their employees' lives.”

The minister said as far as he knows, among the 134 hostels at Cingjing Farm, only four hostels completely comply with relevant regulations. Lee went on to say that based on an initial analysis on land over-utilization in Cingjing, 64 percent of the land (374 hectares) is in the middle- to high-risk land scope.

Lee stressed that a legal hostel does not guarantee safety, and an illegal hostel does not necessarily mean the building possesses a potential risk. In order to retrieve more accurate details, the Construction and Planning Agency (CPA) will work with domestic experts and the Nantou County Government to inspect the area, and analyze the information in two weeks, Lee said.

Lee explained that CPA officials will overlap the potential natural disaster maps that symbolize the growing attention to potential disasters in Taiwan with the map of Cingjing Farm to identify the potential risk areas, and the hostels located within the scope.

“The work might sound simple, but in fact it will take a lot of time and manpower to handle,” Lee added.

The minister further explained that after the inspection results come out in two weeks, the government will demolish hostels that are illegal located in high-risk areas. As for legal hostels located in high-risk areas, the government will assist the operators to install preventative measures for potential disasters.

When asked if the MOI will assist the illegal operators that are within the safe area to conform to the law, Lee said it is not the MOI's call to make such a decision.

Lee stressed that there are a lot of issues to be discussed with the Cabinet after the results come out, including how to restore the area, and the employee settlement. “It is easy to raze a building, but we have to consider how to take care of those employees after their jobs are taken away, and this requires cross-departmental cooperation to solve these issues,” he added.

“The Cingjing Farm issue is definitely a political issue that involves numerous departments in the government,” Lee stressed.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday morning said not every problem is a political issue, noting that as long as the problem can be solved within a government department, it should be handled without transferring it to the Cabinet.

1 Comment
December 8, 2013    r@
Illegal properties have to be demolished otherwise the government will be seen to be corrupt.
Ma should consider this carefully.
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Cingjing Farm is seen in this aerial photo. The MOI yesterday said that in two weeks it will announce the names of the hostels located within potential middle- to high-risk hazard zones at Cingjing. (CNA)

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