Residents Still Unaware of Railway Plans


Many residents have yet to know that a high-speed railway will be built in Laos from the Laos-China border in Luang Namtha province to Vientiane.

The railway worker camps and flags marking the railway land have been erected in the four provinces of Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Luang Prabang and Vientiane.

Deputy Govern  or of Oudomxay province, Mr Somchith Panyasack, told the press that many people still do not know that the railway will be built in Laos.

If they knew that the railway was really happening they would be excited to see high-speed rail in Laos, he said.

However, there are 40 villagers in the province of Oudomxay in the three districts of Xay Nga and Namor where the railway will pass through, which are currently seeking compensation and resettlement.

A railway coordinator in Oudomxay province, Mr Phonpradith Phommachith said last week the railway will pass through the province over a distance of 126 kilometres.

Right now, the relevant authorities are installing markers for the railway and mediating to compensate the families who will have to make way for the railway construction.

A provincial coordinator of the Laos-China project, Mr Chanthachone Keolakhone said the three villages of Boten, Tinsan and Nateuy in Luang Namtha province are located within the vicinity of the construction site.

But the number of families who will have to move is as yet unknown because they are surveying and installing markers on the land that the railway will pass through.

A section of about 16.9 kilometres in length runs through these three villages.

Compensation is to be paid to the owners of parcels of land or buildings in the three villages that will be used or demolished to make way for the Laos-China railway.

Negotiations for compensation are currently underway. All of the affected families have agreed to make way for the construction of the Laos-China railway but say they expect reasonable compensation to move.

Residents in Nateuy village will be moved to make way for the Laos-China project. This will be the second time they have been resettled after firstly making way for the Boten special economic zone at the Boten international checkpoint.

Mr Chanthachone added that people are complaining as they have built nice houses, but they must resettle again.

They will make way for railway construction and the new site will be located along the main road.

Director of the Luang Prabang Public Works and Transport Department, Mr Fasanan Thammavong said the railway through Luang Prabang province covers a length of 80 kilometres taking in the three districts of Chomphet, Luang Prabang and Xiengngeun.

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith will officially launch the start of construction for the Laos-China railway project at a ceremony on December 25.

The US$6 billion railway, to be built over a distance of 427 km, will be completed by 2021.


Source: Vientiane Times