Villagers in the dark over dam relocation

Villagers in the dark over dam relocation

Communities living close to the Lower Sesan II dam site in Stung Treng province have called on the government to publicly disclose what compensation they will receive.

Logging continues as the area is cleared ahead of construction, but those who will be forced to leave their homes are being kept in the dark about when that will happen or where they will be moved to.

The 400-megawatt dam is being built under a joint venture between the Royal Group and Chinese state-owned Hydrolancang International Energy. Electricity Vietnam International (EVNI) sold its stake in the project in 2012.

According to a report released yesterday by the NGO Forum, villagers are concerned that relocation site standards previously promised by EVNI would now not be delivered, given that no company officials have met with families about compensation since EVNI’s exit.

“They remain concerned about the new locations because they do not know where they are. They only know that one family will receive one house with a land area of 50mx100m, five hectares of rice fields and one hectare of plantation,” the report says.

Tea Chup, an undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Environment, acknowledged that there had been a lack of communication between the authorities, the companies and villagers, but did not specify when more compensation details would be made public.​ “Some villages must relocate, so the company has to build a new village, new houses and infrastructure like hospitals, roads and wells,” he said.

“We are not doing development to make people poorer.”

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