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Minister of Public Works and Transport, Dr Viengsavath Siphandone

Govt to tackle impacts of rail project, provide compensation to affected

The government has pledged to address social and environmental impacts linked to the Laos-China Railway project that are affecting people within this year, a senior government official told the National Assembly (NA) on Friday.
The impacts were due to the 414-km railway line on the Lao side cutting across national and provincial highways, community roads and roads leading to farm land. Stones and other materials have been dumped on farm lands, resulting in farmers being unable to grow crops.
In light of these issues, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, in collaboration with local authorities and the Laos-China Railway Co Ltd, conducted an inspection and found 154 points with such problems.
Out of the total, the impacts at 35 points were completely addressed and action will be taken to tackle issues at the remaining 119 points, the Minister of Public Works and Transport, Dr Viengsavath Siphandone, told the ongoing 4th ordinary session of the NA’s 9th legislature.
“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 told the session in response to a question raised by members of the NA.
In addition, the minister told lawmakers that authorities will strive to pay out compensation to people whose properties were affected by the railway, which began its operations a year ago.
So far, 1,130 households are yet to receive compensation. Currently, the outstanding compensation is more than 64 billion kip. 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 not contacted the authorities to receive their compensation, according to Dr Viengsavath.
In total, the Laos-China Railway Project affected more than 6,800  households in the four provinces of Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay and Luang Namtha and in the capital of Vientiane.
A total of 5,755 households received compensation worth more than 1,651 billion kip.
The Ministry of Public Works and Transport will cooperate with local authorities to help the affected residents understand the issue and accept compensation from the government, he said.
The Laos-China Railway has shipped around 2 million tonnes of freight, mostly across the border, while more than 1.20 million people have travelled on the railway since it opened in December 2021.
The railway has sparked a boom in travel and goven a significant boost to tourism. People from across Laos and other countries, mainly Thailand, are using the railway to visit popular destinations in northern Laos, especially Luang Prabang.

 

By Times Reporters
 (Latest Update December 14, 2022)

   

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