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Villagers may lose their homes to canal

Some 200 families in Kok Thlouk Leu commune in Chi Kraeng district are concerned about losing their homes and farmlands after the government announced plans to construct a canal at the end of this year.

The concerns took hold on Monday September 29 when government officials started to measure land that will be affected by the project.

Villager Mao But said, ““I am so worried. They came to measure my farmland and I do not know how many metres of my land I will have to lose.”

He was told that the government will give compensation of $3 per square metre to affected villager, but the villagers refused and made their own demands.

“We demand that the government stop the plans, but if they cannot do that we want them to give us $5 per square metre,” Mao But said.

He said the government officials informed villagers that the main purpose of constructing this canal is to help them get enough water for their farming.

“But the canal is too long. If we have no land for farming, the water is useless for us,” he added.

Pei Mai, 33, said her house is affected by the project and she demands $20,000 compensation.

“People who came to measure my land told me the compensation depends on the government. But I will not move out of my land unless I get what I demand,” she said.

Seng Hai, a government official from the Inter-Ministerial Committee who is working on measuring the village land to see how many families will be affected by the project, said that the canal construction is part of the development of an irrigation system in Chi Kraeng.

“The canal is 3300 metres in length and 100 metres wide, and we plan to construct in December. But before the construction begins, we would like to know how many families will be affected.”

He said he does not know how much the government will pay villagers affected by this program, but he was sure the government will find a good solution for them.

Touch Try, chief of Kok Tlouk Leu commune said the government will halt the project if villagers disagree.

“It is a government plan to improve the irrigation system nationwide for villagers’ benefit and it will also help if the floods come. But if villagers do not want to have it, the plans could be cancelled.

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