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Talk of the day -- Urban land price index and village rejuvenation

2010/07/15 13:38:44

Taiwan's urban land price index has risen 2.49 percent since lastOctober, marking the biggest increase in the past 17 years, theMinistry of the Interior (MOI) reported Wednesday.

The ministry issues the urban land price index twice a year,detailing land prices in residential, commercial and industrialdistricts in cities and counties around the country. The indexfunctions like the consumer price index in monitoring the domesticeconomic situation.

According to the latest MOI survey, urban land prices in 20cities and counties posted gains between Oct. 1, 2009 and March 31,2010, but those in the remaining five areas dropped during the sameperiod.

Meanwhile, the Legislative Yuan passed a bill on rural villagerejuvenation Wednesday under which the government will budget NT$150billion in the coming decade for various rural development projects.

The following are excerpts from local media coverage of thetopics:

United Daily News:

The latest MOI-compiled urban land price index showed that landprices increased most steeply on the outlying island of Kinmen duringthe six-month period at 6.61 percent, followed by a 4.35 percentsurge in Taipei County and a 4.31 percent gain in Taipei City.

The Kinmen County government said the rise was mainly fueled bythe central government's decision to begin construction of along-discussed Kinmen Bridge late this year and the launch of manyinvestment projects by the county government to develop the islandcounty into a tourist and duty-free shopping paradise.

The continued expansion of direct shipping services betweenKinmen and China's Fujian Province has also helped drive up Kinmen'sland prices, county officials said.

In Taipei City, land prices posted the greatest rise in suburbanNangang District thanks to the launch of several major infrastructureconstruction projects.

During the same period, land prices in Taichung County, YunlinCounty, Tainan County, Taitung County and Lienchiang County (MatsuIsland) declined, with Taitung County registering the biggest drop at0.7 percent. (July 15, 2010).

China Times:

Under the newly passed farming village revitalization act, thegovernment will invest up to NT$200 billion to rejuvenate the4,000-plus farming and fishing villages around the country over thecoming decade.

Once the act is promulgated, any organization in farming villagesaround the country will have the right to propose sustainable plansto rejuvenate their villages and can submit their proposals toauthorities for approval.

About 600,000 farming and fishing households are expected tobenefit from the act.

On fears that the act may open ways for big financial groups todominate rural land development for improper profits, Council ofAgriculture Minister Chen Wu-hsiung said such misgivings areunnecessary because farmers and fishermen will be protagonists in ruraldevelopment and there will be no room for business groups to getinvolved. (July 15, 2010).

Liberty Times:

The bill has been tabled since December 2008, with the oppositionDemocratic Progressive Party (DPP) and some activistgroups accusing the ruling Kuomintang of trying to use it to buyvoter support.

Critics said the new law may lead to financial groupscollaborating with major farmland owners to control rejuvenationprojects in farming villages or communities at the expense of smallfarmland owners.

DPP lawmakers did not vote on the bill Wednesday as theywalked out of the extraordinary legislative session last Fridayafter the KMT-controlled legislature refused to put thecross-strait economic cooperation framework agreement toline-item review. (July 15, 2010).

(By Sofia Wu)
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