The compensation to be paid to the owners of parcels of land and buildings that will be used or demolished to make way for the Laos-China railway may not be enough.
Ministers addressed this issue at the National Assembly’s ongoing debate session on Wednesday, answering questions put by Assembly members concerning the compensation to be paid to property owners living in areas where the railway will be built.
Minister of Public Works and Transport Dr Bounchan Sinthavong said that 500 million yuan (about 599 billion kip) had been allocated for compensation payments, but he thought this amount may be insufficient.
“To ensure that the many people who will be affected by the railway will receive compensation, we have negotiated payments with the Laos-China Joint Venture Company,” he said.
One of the questions concerned the planned 50-metre section of land that is to be fenced off along either side of the railway, which in some places runs close to Road No. 13 North and other roads. The questioner wondered if it would be possible to reduce this width.
Dr Bounchan said the matter had been discussed with the Laos-China Joint Venture Company and the consulting company on Tuesday, when officials said this might be possible, but stressed that safety must be assured alongside the track.
It was also stated that people living in the provinces and in Vientiane would be able to grow rice alongside the railway.
Assembly members put 15 questions to the Minister of Public Works and Transport, but he was only able to answer seven in the time available.
Minister of Planning and Investment Dr Souphanh Keomixay said the railway project was 70 percent owned by China and 30 percent by Laos.
Construction is scheduled to begin in December after the signing of a concession agreement in November. The US$6 billion railway, to be built over a distance of 427 km, will be completed by 2021.
The railway will use a 1.435-metre standard-gauge track. There will be 33 stations, 21 of which will be operational initially.
There will be 72 tunnels with a total length of 183.9 km, representing 43 percent of the railway’s total length. The line will also have 170 bridges totalling 69.2 km in length, accounting for 15.8 percent of the total.
Passenger trains will travel at 160 km per hour, while the speed of rail freight will be 120 km per hour.
The railway in Laos will link with the track in Thailand to form part of the regional rail link known as the Kunming-Singapore railway, covering a total distance of about 3,000km.
Source: Vientiane Times