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Farmers demand flood damages

Update: November, 11/2010 - 10:22
Power plant pays out $57,000

The management board of Dak Srong 2A hydro-power plant on Monday paid VND1.2 billion ($57,000) to farmers whose crops were inundated.

The plant, owned by the Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group, blocked the flow of streams to store water in reservoirs. Recently, about 20ha of crops in the Central Highland Province of Gia Lai's Kong Chro District were flooded when extra water was released.

Tran Cao Nguyen, chairman of the provincial People's Committee, said the water swamped a vital bridge, causing damage.

He said the plant also promised to build a new road to allow traffic through. — VNS

HA NOI — The Farmers Association in Lam Dong Province in the Central Highlands has demanded Da Nhim-Ham Thuan-Da Mi hydro-power plant pay damages to residents flooded out recently.

Tran Duy Viet, chairman of the association, said Da Nhim hydro-power reservoirs released a large amount of water that destroyed five houses and submerged hundreds of others in Don Duong and Duc Trong districts.

He said prolonged heavy rains had prompted many hydro-power plants to release excess water to protect dams.

However, Viet said the recent release in his area caused the loss of 640ha of subsidiary crops and 188ha of rice worth about VND23 billion (US$1.1 million).

He also complained that the hydro-power plant stored water during dry seasons, resulting in an artificial shortage of water for farm production.

Viet said the company compensated farmers affected by a discharge 20 years ago, but added that it took the company years to hand over the money.

Viet also said the plant's policies should be to pay for damage caused by its discharges - and take steps to limit them.

He said the association would pursue the issue. Lawyer Phan Trung Hoai said there was a strong enough legal basis to ask the plant for compensation.

Hoai said the Water Resources Law stipulated that organisations and individuals had to compensate for any damage they caused in exploiting water resources.

He said violators should be fined VND20-40 million ($952-1,904) for not abiding by operational regulations, particularly flood discharge rules.

Nguyen Duc Hung, director of the province's Justice Department, , agreed that the hydro-power plant should pay if its discharges harmed farmers.

However, the director of the company, Nguyen Trong Oanh, said the flood discharge followed operational regulations and was done annually.

Oanh said local residents had been informed before the discharge and warned to harvest their crops.

He said the reservoir which came into operation in 1964 was designed to discharge 3,000 cubic metres per second.

Oanh added that most of the submerged crops were on encroached areas that deterred stream flows.

Viet, in reply, said authorities should carefully consider new hydro-power projects to ensure the interests of people in low-lying areas were not. — VNS

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