|The construction of Thượng Nhật Hydropower plant was started in 2008 but the plant's investor still delays paying compensation to people who move to make room for the plant. — Photo vov.vn|
THỪA THIÊN – HUẾ — Almost 200 households are still awaiting compensation after being forced to move for the construction of a hydropower that will open soon.
Thượng Nhật Hydropower Plant in Nam Đông District, the central province of Thừa Thiên-Huế is expected to start operation in middle this year, but the plant’s investor has not compensated people who moved more than ten years ago.
Chairman of the district People’s Committee Trần Quốc Phụng said 187 households in the districts had hundreds of hectares of their land withdrawn for the construction of the plant.
The households were promised compensation from VNĐ150 million (US$6,400) to nearly VNĐ1 billion ($42,600) so they could change livelihoods.
“It’s a big sum for the affected households as they are all from ethnic minority groups, earning their living with forest production land,” Phụng said, adding that the total compensation owed to 187 households was more than VNĐ 22 billion ($940,000).
Phụng said once the hydropower plant was approved in 2007, the local authority oversaw the compensation payment but the plant’s investor – Central Hydropower Joint Stocks Company – claimed it had financial issues.
The investor told the local authority that it would pay the compensation during the construction.
Construction started in 2008 with investment of VNĐ 158 billion. In July, 2012, the investment was adjusted to more than VNĐ 341 billion.
The hydropower plant is nearly completed and expects to start storing water for power generation in the middle this year, Tiền phong (Vanguard) newspaper reported on Monday.
Local resident Hồ Văn Trân said his forest production land was transferred to the hydropower project and his family had to seek other jobs.
“We don’t have money to start a new business,” Trân said, adding that his children might leave school early to stat working due to the family's dire financial situation.
Trần Đình Khởi, chairman of Thượng Nhật Commune People’s Committee, said the investor had delayed paying the compensation many times.
“They first said they would pay compensation before Lunar New Year and then, March, April and May,” Khởi said.
“The households are so concerned about the compensation that they went to the commune’s office, asking the local authority for help,” Khởi said. — VNS