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Laos-China railway project progressing ahead of schedule
Work on the Laos-China railway line is progressing ahead of schedule, with the project on track to be completed by 2021, a senior government official has said.
Director General of the Planning and Cooperation Department under the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Mr Sengdara Kattiyavong, told the 2018 meeting of the public works and transport sector on Friday that work on the US$5.986 billion project had progressed ahead of the plan.

Authorities in-charge will continue to accelerate construction work along with the payment of compensation to people affected by the project, he added.
 As of February 28 this year, 61 percent of the project, which has a total length of 414 km and 332 m, has been completed, the Minister of Public Works and Transport, Dr Bounchanh Sinthavong, told local media last week ahead of the meeting.
Lao and Chinese authorities have agreed to accelerate work to finish the railway in time to mark the 46th anniversary of the founding of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic on December 2, 2021.
About 95 percent of the total land required for the mega project has been handed over to Chinese contractors, and officials thanked the affected people for their cooperation.
 The government has striven to seek funds to pay compensation to the affected people as quickly as possible, the minister said.
The total compensation has been estimated at 851.53 billion kip and it will be paid out in seven batches, according to Mr Sengdara. So far, funds to pay compensation to the first four batches have been transferred.
More than 126.5 km of tunnels have been bored. The railway line, running through the four provinces of Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Luang Prabang and Vientiane as well as the capital city of Vientiane, will have 75 tunnels with a combined length of 197.83 km. Lao and Chinese authorities recently finished the boring and construction of the 6,453.5-metre Boten tunnel - the first completed among the project’s 10 longest tunnels whose length is more than 5,000 metres each.
As of December 2018, a total of 143 bridges have been built along the route, Mr Sengdara said. The director said the railway line is a strategic cooperation project between Laos and China and the Parties and governments of the two countries have attached special attention to the project.
“The project is significantly meaningful in implementing the policy of the Lao PDR to turn Laos from a landlocked into a land link country, and implementing the Belt and Road Initiative of the People’s Republic of China,” Mr Sengdara told the meeting. 

By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
(Latest Update April 2, 2019)

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