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MARD wants power project halted

Update: May, 28/2016 - 09:00
A section of the Sêrêpốk River that runs through Yok Đôn National Park may dry up as an effect of climate change. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development proposed cancelling a hydropower project to preserve the environment.-- VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI – The Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development (MARD) has proposed Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc suspend a project on hydropower plants in the Central Highlands Province of Đắk Lắk to protect the local environment and wild animals.

The ministry said in a statement that the construction of Đrăng Phốk hydropower plant in Yok Đôn National Park could affect the environment.

To build the plant, nearly 53 ha of forest will be cut down and another 10ha of forest will be cleared for temporary use.

The operation of the plant would directly affect the habitat of wild animals, particularly elephants and tigers, the ministry said.

The construction of a dam will interfere with the water flow of the Sêrêpốk River, leaving an impact on its ecological system and aquatic species.

The building and operation of the plant would hamper forest protection and efforts to preserve the biodiversity of Yok Đôn National Park, the ministry said.

An increase in water levels in the plant’s reservoir would also facilitate the illegal transport of wood from the park, it said.

The planned plant will cover more than 308 hectares, including nearly 24 hectares of dipterocarp forest in the core area of Yok Đôn National Park.

The plant, with total investment of VNĐ850 billion (US$38 million), would have a designed capacity of 26MW.

The construction is scheduled to be implemented by the New Technology Application and Construction Investment Corporation. The corporation is reported to have hired a consultant to report on the project’s environmental impact.

According to the MARD, the Central Highlands has seen serious loss of forest coverage in the past five years (about 6 per cent).

The loss of forest coverage, coupled with the effects of climate change, has harmed the lives of locals as well as socio-economic development in the region, the ministry said.

The MARD in August 2009 asked then Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng to let the People’s Committee of Đắk Lắk Province use the Yok Đôn National Park’s special-use forest for the construction of Đrăng Phốk hydropower plant. The project was approved by the Prime Minister the same month. -- VNS

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