The government has allocated almost 5 billion kip for authorities to finance work in the payment of compensation to those who will lose land when the Laos-China railway is built.
However, the actual payments will be carried out by the joint venture company that is building the railway, from a project budget of almost US$6 billion.
The compensation awards and demarcation of the railway route must be completed as soon as possible to enable the start of construction of the historic railroad in December.
Detailed demarcation of the project corridor through railway stations in Vangvieng district, Luang Prabang district and Oudomxay province is also essential before construction can begin.
Once complete, the railway will link Vientiane with the Chinese border over a distance of 427 km.
Government bodies are currently holding seminars to inform officials of the significance and economic benefits of the railway for Laos.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a seminar in Vientiane last week, presented by Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Sengphet Houngboungnuang.
Mr. Sengphet said the railway was a vital part of efforts to transform Laos from a landlocked’ to a land-link’ nation in order to boost socio-economic development. The rail link would help to cut transport costs and spur the production of goods for export.
Director of the Laos-China Railway construction project and Director of the Lao National Railway Company, Dr Koung Souk-Aloun, toldVientiane Times recently that the railway will be built by Chinese companies using advanced technology.
Lao companies will also benefit, with 20 being selected as sub-contractors for construction work.
President of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Oudet Souvannavong, told Vientiane Times it was still unclear which construction jobs would be allocated to local companies and to what extent labourers and foodstuff would be provided by Laos.
We have not been informed about these issues. Of course we are preparing ourselves to take part in and support this project, Mr. Oudet said. Progress has already been made in preparing for construction.
During an official visit to Laos by China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang on September 8-9, some 20 cooperation documents were signed by the two nations. One of those documents concerned development plans for the Laos-China railway.
The planned 1.435-metre standard-gauge single track railway will have 33 stations, of which 21 will be operational initially, according to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
There will be 72 tunnels with a total length of 183.9 km, representing 43 percent of the line’s total length. The railway will also have 170 bridges measuring a combined 69.2 km, accounting for 15.8 percent of the total length.
Passenger trains will travel at a maximum speed of 160 km per hour, while the maximum speed for rail freight will be 120 km per hour.
Source: Vientiane Times