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Deputy PM urges quicker Son La resettlement

Update: January, 11/2010 - 11:39

SON LA — A leading Government official has asked local authorities to hasten the relocation of people living on the site of the Son La hydro-electric power plant.

Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai made the request while chairing a meeting of the State Steering Committee for the project in the northern province of Son La last Saturday.

He reported that around 1,900 households still remained on the plant’s site while 18,160 other households had already been relocated to resettlement areas.

Apart from resettlement issues, the government leader also asked contractors to speed up the installation of equipment and facilities needed for the plant’s first turbine group to run in late 2010 as planned.

Started in December 2005, the VND37 trillion Son La hydroelectric power plant is designed to have six turbine groups with a combined capacity of 2,400 MW.

Once it swings into full operation in 2012, the Son La power plant will be the largest in Southeast Asia, generating 10.2 billion kWh a year.

Tougher penalties for environmental polluters

HA NOI — Violators of environment laws will be fined up to VND500 million (over US$27,000), much higher than the current level, according to a new Government decree.

The new decision, Decree No 117/2009/ND-CP, which will come into effect as of March 1, is part of the government’s efforts to raise public awareness of environmental protection.

The top penalty is over seven times higher than the current rate of VND70 million.

Violators will have to bear additional punishments including revocation of business licenses, confiscation of exhibits and coerced destruction of pollutant agents.

According to a 2009 statistical report by the Environmental Police Department under the Ministry of Public Security, the domestic authorities disclosed and punished around 4,500 cases of environmental violations, up four times against 2008.

In addition to paying fines, those individuals and enterprises damaging the environment may have their working licences revoked or be forced to restore the environment depending on the seriousness of their offences.

The minimum fine is VND100,000. — VNA/VNS

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