Vientiane Times, October 13, 2012
About 2,000 people in 421 families in Hongsa district, Xayaboury province, moved out of their homes recently to make way for the construction of a 1,878MW lignite-fired power plant.
After leaving their homes, 402 of the families are now living in new houses specially built by local construction companies and funded by the project developer, Hongsa Power Company Limited, at a cost of more than US$20 million.
The new houses have been built in Homsavang and Homxay villages near to Thaenkham village, 8km from the main town in Hongsa district. The other families are living with their parents or other relatives nearby.
Head of the Hongsa Lignite Fired Power Project’s Resettlement Livelihood Management Unit, Mr Sommy Xayalath, told *Vientiane Times * yesterday that the families had formerly lived in Meuanghan, Nachan, Champa, Namaiyom, Nanongkham and Naxaikham villages.
The new community of 450 houses is 12km from the power plant site.
The new development consists of 243 one-bedroom houses, 156 two-bedroom houses, and 51 three-bedroom houses.
Hongsa Power Company Limited has also financed the construction of asphalt roads, schools, water supply, a market and other facilities, as well as the installation of electricity.
A hospital is also being built and will soon be complete, according to a report from the Hongsa Lignite Fired Power Project.
Mr Sommy said each person will also receive 25kg of sticky rice, 0.8kg of beef and eight eggs every month for the first three years after relocating.
The project is also paying everyone’s water and electricity bills for the first month after their relocation.
Mr Sommy noted that the project has also provided two hectares of farmland for each family. Helped by project staff, families are planting rubber trees on one hectare and will grow other crops on the remaining land.
The villagers will also be given training in farming methods, livestock raising, and massage skills.
Mr Sommy said that next year the project plans to install more facilities and will work with the provincial Agriculture and Forestry Department’s
Irrigation Section staff to build an irrigation system.
“Providing rubber saplings and setting up a village revolving fund is also part of the plan,” Mr Sommy said.
The project is a joint venture worth about US$4 billion between the Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Public Company and Banpu Power Limited of Thailand, and Lao Holding State Enterprise.
Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding owns a 40 percent share in the project, while Banpu also has a 40 percent stake and the Lao Holding State Enterprise holds a 20 percent share.
The plant is scheduled to commence commercial operations in 2015. Most of the electricity generated will be exported to Thailand, Mr Sommy said.
The development is a massive project that involves constructing a lignite mining and electricity generation facility on a 60 square kilometre site,
more than 300km northwest of Vientiane.
The concession period starts on the project execution date and ends 25 years after the start of commercial operations.