Laos rethinks rail compensation


VIENTIANE, 31 August 2017: Lao PDR has assured village communities it will improve compensation payments to expropriate land needed for the China- Laos high-speed railway.

The national news agency reported, Thursday, that Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transport, Bounchan Chanthawng, had hosted consultative meeting to mediate terms covering compensation for communities affected by the construction of the railway project.

The meeting was held earlier in the week in Luang Prabang.

He warned against hasty conclusions and called for local authorities to gather information to complete and improve the calculation unit used to pay compensation.

Hundreds of communities will be impacted once construction begins through valleys in northern Laos.

Work is already underway on tunnels and bridges in areas where there fewer compensation claims.

The construction of the Lao-Chinese Railway construction project  will cover 400 km through mountainous terrain requiring hundreds of tunnels, bridges and viaducts.

However, the  sensitive issue of compensation has arisen in areas where rail track will runs through Luang Prabang province for a distance of 80 km.

It will impact on 29 villages in three districts identified as Chomdet,  Luang Prabang and Luang Prabang’s Xiengkhuang District .

Six stations are planned for the province, with a major station located very close to Luang Prabang town. To date, Luang Prabang  has already secured land for stretches of rail track covering 49 km.

Critics have warned the line will impact on communities as it approaches Luang Prabang requiring a review of compensation offers. In some instances the construction of tunnels and bridges close to villages near Luang Prabang will be highly disruptive for the communities who are requesting a rethink of compensation offers.