Preliminary counts have been completed in the provinces through which the Laos-China railway will pass, to pave the way for compensation to be paid to the affected villagers and residents who will be relocated.
However affected residents in the provinces through which the railway will pass, and particularly the owners of parcels of land and buildings that will be used or demolished to make way for the railway, have yet to receive any compensation. Director of the Luang Prabang provincial Public Works and Transport Department, Mr Fasanan Thammavong, told the press in the prefecture that the preliminary surveys for the affected people and counts for compensation payments have already been completed.
The compensation to be paid for property owners in Luang Prabang has still not been approved by the Laos-China railway project’s committee, Mr Fasanan said.
The railway bridge will be part of the planned 427-km Laos-China railway running from the Chinese border to Vientiane through the four provinces of Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Luang Prabang, and Vientiane to the capital and linking to the Thai border.
In Luang Prabang province, the railway will run through 29 villages over a length of 80 kilometres taking in the three districts of Chomphet, Luang Prabang and Xiengngeun.
Mr Fasanan added that officials in Luang Prabang will also be examining compensation payments in Oudomxay and Vientiane provinces in order to compare them to ensure that they are equivalent with the other provinces.
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith will officially launch the construction of the Laos-China railway project at a ceremony on December 25.
The ceremony to kick off railway construction will take place in Luang Prabang district’s Phonxay village where a railway bridge spanning the Mekong River will be built.
On Sunday, Luang Prabang will be the site of the official launch of the project and provincial authorities intend to seek clarification from the Chinese construction company about where within Luang Prabang they intend to start initial works so that they can meet with affected villagers for mediation.
Luang Prabang has already prepared the parcels of land for relocation for the railway-impacted villages.
Meanwhile in Oudomxay, there are 40 villages in the three districts of Xay, Nga and Namor through which the railway will pass, over a distance of 126 kilometres.
In Luang Namtha, the three villages of Boten, Tinsan and Nateuy are located within the vicinity of the construction site, which runs through the province for only a distance of 16.9 kilometres.
The Laos-China Railway Project is estimated to cost about US$6 billion and will run from the border area of Boten in Luang Namtha province to Vientiane. It is scheduled for completion in 2021 and is 70 percent owned by China and 30 percent by Laos.
Source: Vientiane Times