Vientiane Times, 22 March 2013
The Xayaboury Hydroelectric Power Project has approved the continuing development of infrastructure to meet the needs of people in the newly built village of Na Tor Yai, in Xayaboury province.
Some 75 families moved to the village to allow for the construction of the Xayaboury dam, the first run-of-river dam to be built on the lower Mekong.
The project developers say they will seal the road that leads to the provincial capital and various other roads in the area and will build a bridge across the Houng River.
The main infrastructure in the new village is already in place, including houses, roads, water, electricity, telephone network and a school. These were built when people began relocating to the village in January last year.
Uncle Thidsatan Soukeo told reporters who visited the area on Wednesday that he is one of 350 people who recently moved 30km from their former home in Huysouy village on the banks of the Mekong River. Their new home is closer to the provincial capital.
“We hope the project developers will improve the dirt roads in the new village and seal them with asphalt, and build a new bridge across the Houng River,” he said.
Na Tor Yai village is about six kilometres from the provincial capital, but the asphalt road extends for only three kilometres. The villagers are hoping the project developers will lay more asphalt to reduce the amount of dust and facilitate transport.
They also want a bridge across the Houng River because it will reduce the distance they have to travel to nearby markets by more than half.
The villagers say they need only these two things, and then won’t ask for anything else because they have already been given a lot since they relocated.
Xayaboury district Governor Ms Bounphack Inthapanya said the project developers paid out compensation of 200 to 300 million kip for the houses and land abandoned by the residents of Huysouy village. The dam will have a generating capacity of 1,285MW, with most of the electricity to be sold to Thailand. It is slated for completion in 2019, but the government wants to accelerate the project and is aiming for a completion date sometime in 2018.
The project is already about 10 percent complete after a groundbreaking ceremony took place in November last year.