Violations detected at hydropower plants in Lai Châu provinces

July 20, 2019 - 08:50
Violations in the construction of a number of hydropower plants in the northern mountainous province of Lai Châu have been blamed on poor management by local authorities.


The investor of Chu Va 2 hydropower plant has started the project without licence from the provincial authority, according to reports. VNA/VNS Photo Việt Hoàng

LAI CHÂU – Violations in the construction of a number of hydropower plants in the northern mountainous province of Lai Châu have been blamed on poor management by local authorities.

The Mường Kim II hydro power project located in Than Uyên District is one example, according to a Vietnam News Agency report.

A number of items in the project have encroached Highway No 32’s safety corridor.

The project has a design capacity of 10.5MW and is funded by the Than Uyên Hydropower Joint Stock Company.

In order to get water from Nậm Kim stream, the plant has built underground tunnels through National Highway 32. However, they did so without the consent of authorised agencies.

Lai Châu province’s Transport Department in June filed a report on the violations, issued fines and asked for the project to be suspended. However the warning was ignored and the plant recently started generating the electricity.

Vũ Ngọc Bình, an inspector from the department, said the project’s investor had failed to show documents relating to permission for the construction when the inspection team arrived on site.

Article 15 of the Government’s Decree No.11 issued in 2010 on the management and protection of road traffic infrastructure, stipulates the scope of safety corridors of such roads as Highway No 32 with width from the land of the road to the sides is 9m. In fact, some items of the project including dams, and Mường Kim II hydropower plant violated traffic safety corridors, adding that the nearest location is just 3m away and the farthest 5m away.

“Before starting the construction, the company must comply with the application for a licence. Otherwise we will transfer the violation record to the District People's Committee who will dismantle the whole project by force to ensure the road safety corridor,” Bình said.

Leaders from Civil Construction and Management Jsc No 5 said their staff had coordinated with local authorities in making a report on the violations.

The report stated clearly the construction unit for the hydropower project had opened tunnels within the protective scope of road traffic infrastructure, affecting its structure.

Lê Quang Hiền, deputy inspectorate of Lai Châu Province’s Transport Department, said the department had not yet granted a licence for opening a tunnel under Highway 32.

He blamed flaws of the hydropower project on the agency who failed to keep a close watch on inspection work.

“The fact that the project was transferred to many investors and they worked underground caused difficulty for inspectors,” he said.

Houses affected

The use of explosives at the construction projects also created major problems for people living nearby.

They claimed explosions had left many houses seriously damaged.

Đồng Văn Cừ, a resident, said cracks had appeared on the wall of his two-storey building for several months due to blasting.

“Every time it rains, the water seeps through the crack on the ceiling to the floor,” he said.  

He also said that Than Uyên Hydroelectricity Joint Stock Company offered compensation and sent workers to repair his house.

Hằng, another resident, whose house was also affected, said more than 70 households in the locality were damaged in one night.

Her family refused compensation because she felt it was not enough and she wanted the company to bring in a specialised agency to assess the damage.

Regarding the compensation, Trần Hoài Nam, deputy director of Than Uyên Hydropower Jsc, the project’s investor, said after receiving reports from residents the company had collaborated with local government in determining the damage.

So far, 74 out of 76 households had agreed with the compensation plan offered by the company, he said. The total amount of compensation was estimated at more than VNĐ3 billion (US$129,000).

Chu Va 2 hydropower plant is also another concern.

The construction of the project, with design capacity of 12 MW, was expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2016 and complete by second quarter of 2019.

According to Cầm Đức Chiến, head of Tam Đường District’s Natural Resources and Environment, the Thăng Long Group, the project’s investor, had shown flaws in observing the law. It started the project without licence from the provincial authority.

The investor also found that stone mining had been conducted without permission from the authorised agency, he said.

To create favourable condition for the project’s investor, the provincial People’s Committee decided to lease 6ha (half of the project’s total area) for the building since October last year, said Đỗ Văn Xuyên, deputy director of Lai Châu Province’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment. The rest would be negotiated between the investor and residents.

However, 11 out 57 local households haven’t reached a consensus on compensation so the land clearance has not yet finished.

Trần Văn Xứng, deputy chairman of Tam Đường District’s People’s Committee said the project’s investor should complete necessary documents before starting construction. It should not ignore government’ regulations to speed up the progress, he said. — VNS