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Park boss battles hydro-power dam

Update: September, 11/2013 - 09:35
Tran Van Thanh, acting director of the national park in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, said as the project was located in the core zone of Yok Don, it would have severe negative impacts on the ecological system and compromise the park's protection.— Photo danviet

HCM CITY (VNS)— The chief of the Yok Don National Park has strongly opposed a project to build a 28MW hydro-power project in its core zone, saying he will resign from his post if such a project was allowed to go through.

Tran Van Thanh, acting director of the national park in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, said as the project was located in the core zone of Yok Don, it would have severe negative impacts on the ecological system and compromise the park's protection.

He said the project would destroy 59ha of special-use forests and this would rob many species of wild animals and birds of their home.

The noise from the construction site of the planned Drang Phok hydro-power plant would also threaten wild animals in the area, Thanh said.

Furthermore, when the Srepok River is blocked, the living environment of aquatic species in the river will change irrevocably and pose a threat to their existence, he added.

The project, if realised, will also exert greater pressure on the forest protection functions currently shouldered by the management of the Yok Don National Park, Thanh told the Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper.

Thanh voiced his opposition after the Dak Lak Department of Industry and Trade asked the Dak Lak provincial authority to give a "go-ahead" signal to the investor of the Drang Phok Hydro-power project.

The department asked the provincial authority not to suspend the project and to allow the investor to make a report on the impacts it would have on the environment to be submitted to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment for approval.

According to the department's report, the Drang Phok will submerge 295.4ha of land in the Yok Don National Park, including 28.88ha of special-use forests.

It also asks the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to consider the project's "sensitive" issues such as its location in the core zone of the Yok Don National Park, only 4.2km from the border between Viet Nam and Cambodia, as also its position within the Mekong River basin.

Thanh said the Department has an "inaccurate" report on the project. The report says the project areas will destroy 28.88ha of special-use forest while it actually covers up to 59ha of the area.

"The reason behind the Department's proposal to the provincial authority to allow the project to go ahead is still unknown, as it is 14 months behind schedule," said Thanh. —VNS

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