Compensation rate for railway-affected property approved

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) -Authorities in charge have approved the amount of compensation to be paid to people who have lost land or other property due to the construction of the Laos-China railway.

Governor of Luang Prabang province, Mr Khamkhan Chanthavisouk, recently issued a decision detailing the compensation rate and how it was calculated.

The four provinces and Vientiane through which the railway will pass have now approved their respective compensation rates, a source at the Laos-China Railway Company told Vientiane Times yesterday.

Authorities in charge are reviewing information regarding the property in question in order to identify the total compensation cost and ensure that appropriate compensation is awarded.

The authorities will also prioritise compensation as the available budget is currently insufficient.

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith told the cabinet at the government’s monthly meeting for April to ask for more grants or loans from China for the payment of compensation.

The Lao government is obliged to provide land for construction of the 30-70 Laos-China joint venture project.

Thus Laos is responsible for compensating people for land lost to the project. The Laos-China Railway Company is responsible for the payment of compensation for the loss of non-land property, according to the source.

More than 653.7 billion kip (500 million yuan) has been allocated for compensation payments but this is likely to be inadequate so the amount will be augmented by the US$5.986 billion (37.4 billion yuan) project.

“Spending for all of the project components, including construction and the purchase of trains, is within the 37.4 billion yuan budget. If some money is saved from such spending it will be used to supplement the amount budgeted for compensation,” the source said, citing an agreement reached by the Lao and Chinese sides.

The owners of all forms of property, including land, buildings, fences, crops, trees and other assets, will be compensated.

The Lao government attaches great importance to the compensation process and the construction of the railway, which will transform Laos from a landlocked nation into a land link.

As of March 23, construction of the railway was 26.5 percent complete.  

The government has a policy to ensure reasonable and fair compensation. The Prime Ministerial Decree on Compensation and Resettlement for People Affected by Development Projects states that compensation offered to affected persons must ensure that they enjoy better living conditions or at least have the same facilities as before they were displaced.

Compensation and resettlement must be carried out in a just, fair and open manner with the involvement of the project developer, villagers, state officials and other stakeholders.