The Lao government has vowed to address the environmental and social impacts associated with the Laos-China Railway project by the end of this year.
The announcement was made by a senior government official in last week’s National Assembly session as the 414-km stretch of the railway line has impacted highways, community roads, and even farmlands to facilitate its construction. With stones and other building materials being dumped on fields, farmers were unable to grow crops and earn a livelihood.
In this regard, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, alongside local authorities and the Laos-China Railway authorities, carried out an inspection and found 154 points along the route with problems.
So far, issues with 35 points were addressed and the Minister of Public Works and Transport Dr. Viengsavath Siphandone told the National Assembly that steps are being taken to tackle issues at the pending 119 points as well.
“We are drawing up a detailed work plan for solving the issues at the affected points, with the target of finishing the work by 2023,” he said.
Additionally, the minister revealed that concerned authorities would also look at financially compensating locals whose properties were affected by the Laos-China Railway that started its operations in December last year.
“So far, 1,130 households are yet to receive compensation. Currently, the outstanding compensation is more than LAK 64 billion. In most of these cases, the affected people have not accepted the compensation rate approved by the people’s councils of the provinces that the Laos-China Railway runs through. Some land-owners have also not contacted the authorities to receive their compensation,” added Dr. Viengsavath.
Around 6,800 households in the four provinces of Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay, and Luang Namtha, and the capital of Vientiane were affected by the construction of the Laos-China railway line. So far, 5,755 have been compensated with over LAK 1,681 billion.