Bokeo Families Relocate to Make Way for Dam


Resettlement of communities from areas of the Nam Tha 1 hydropower project is 87 percent complete, with displaced families in Bokeo province having been moved to a new location.

Assistant Managing Director of Electricite du Laos (EDL) Mr. Vilaphone Visounnarath, who is Head of the Resettlement Management Office, told Vientiane Times about the progress of the programme during a media visit to the project on Thursday.

The 168MW dam on the Nam Tha River extends into Luang Namtha province’s Nalae district and Bokeo province’s Pha-odom district.

The dam will create a reservoir of 64 square kilometres to store about 17.55 billion cubic metres of water, and will flood 37 villages in the two districts.

Mr. Vilaphone said 10 villages of more than 3,100 inhabitants in Pha-odom district have moved to new accommodation in Hadmuak village in the same  district, which has infrastructure such as roads, water, electricity, schools, a temple and a health facility in place.

“The compensation programme for accommodation, infrastructure and facilities has been taken care of,” Mr. Vilaphone said.

Regarding compensation for the loss of crops and farmland, he said the project had handed out about 500 million kip in cash in the first instalment, and 2.7 billion kip in the second instalment.

According to Mr. Vilaphone, the project is now dealing with programmes to improve people’s livelihoods such as arrangements for new farmland and commercial production feasibility studies, including a vineyard.

Head of the newly resettled community in Hadmuak village, Mr. Xiengthongchanh Silachanh, said the village was much better that the previous place, which had been in existence for 300 years.

He said the new location had bigger and better school buildings, a gravity-fed water system, easier access to health services, and each house had access to the road, which was better than in the previous village.

Nam Tha 1 Lao Power Co., Ltd., which was created by CSG International (a major power company in China), began work on the project in late 2013 with a 30-year concession term.

The project includes construction of a 115-kV transmission line with a length of 82 km from the powerhouse to the substation in Huayxai district and another 115-kV transmission line 40 km in length from the powerhouse to another substation in Luang Namtha province.

The project is now 50 percent complete. It will take four years to build the 3.1 trillion kip (US$340 million) dam.

Regarding the relocation of communities in Nalae district, the official said all the necessary information was in hand and ready for implementing the resettlement programme.


Source: Vientiane Times