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Locals furious after crops destroyed by hydro-plant

Update: October, 12/2013 - 09:39
Three communes in Lam Dong Province's Lam Ha District have been badly affected by the rising water levels.— File Photo
LAM DONG (VNS)— Dozens of houses and hundreds of hectares of coffee in the catchment area of Dong Nai 2 Hydro-power Plant's reservoir have been submerged after the facility began storing water three weeks ago.

Three communes in Lam Dong Province's Lam Ha District have been badly affected by the rising water levels.

Bui Quang Tien, a Lien Ha Commune resident, said: "The reservoir's water level raises so quickly that several hectares of coffee on my farm have been flooded."

Another resident, Vu Duy Tam, said he and others were annoyed by the lack of notice they were given over the reservoir's plans.

"We did not receive an official notice about the reservoirs' water store, we just heard from others about it," he added.

The district authority said although they approved Trung Nam Hydro-power Joint Stock Company - the investor behind the hydro-power plant - to store water in early September, the company only gave the authority three days notice before commencing the operation.

"It was a very short period for locals to prepare," the authority said.

Chairman of Tan Thanh Commune People's Committee Doan Van Trung said "The lack of notice caused big losses for local residents."

The damage was initially estimated to cost hundreds of billions of dong, including a loss of VND160 billion ($7.5 million) because 200ha of coffee crops were damaged.

As regulated, the company has to finish paying land clearance compensation to local residents before it can start storing water.

"This did not happen," said Trung from Tan Thanh Commune.

According to investigations by a Vietnam News Agency correspondent in the province, the company has to pay compensation of VND134 billion ($6.3 million) to 297 households living in the reservoir catchment area.

So far, only VND90 billion ($4.2 million) of this has been paid.

A company representative said the compensation fund was doubled due to changes in local policy, making it difficult to meet the commitment.

The provincial People's Committee has ordered authorised agencies to calculate the total damage caused by the reservoir's water store and told the company to pay additional compensation. — VNS

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