Working towards greater community control over land, forests and natural resources

Collect compensation payments, displaced Vientiane residents urged

Vientiane Times, 17 Sept 2013

Officials at the Vientiane Natural Resources and Environment Department are still waiting for 20 former landowners to collect compensation owed them as part of a project to build the That Luang Marsh Specific Economic Zone in central Vientiane.

The landowners occupied more than 80 parcels of land, which they vacated to make way for the development.

“These people have the right to compensation and we are asking them to expedite claims for the money owed them,” a department official told Vientiane Times on Monday.

The department had previously set a deadline of January 15 this year for all landowners to submit their claims after the Vientiane authorities had opened their doors to claimants for almost one year.

When the deadline was announced it was also stated that the parcels of land which hadn’t been subjected to compensation claims would revert to being assets of the state. But the deadline was cancelled as it went against the policy of the government which is to wait until the owners collect the payment and no time limit can be imposed.

The people who still have to submit a claim had agreed to make way for the development, but they continue to delay as some have asked that the land they have lost be exchanged for similar land in another area. Others have asked that the compensation offered be increased as they felt it did not reflect the true value of the land, an official explained.

According to the department, there is to be no change to the system of compensation for the 365 hectares given over to the That Luang Marsh Specific Economic Zone.

Most of the landowners have now collected their compensation payments and the remaining 20 are expected to lodge their claims soon.

The compensation paid varies from 15,000 kip to 162,000 kip per square metre plus three years in value of the agricultural yield the owners used to derive from the land. Those farmers planting on state lands in the project area are also compensated for the loss of their crops at 7.2 million kip per rai (1/6th of a hectare).

The Shanghai-based firm, Shanghai Wanfeng Group, held a groundbreaking ceremony on Sunday to kick off the US$1.6 billion construction project, which they hope to finish within 15 to 20 years.

Once completed, the project will feature a public park where people can gather to walk and jog, a lake that will store and treat the water that drains off from the city centre, and a residential area, according to a report from the developers.

The development will also contain a sports centre, a shopping and hotel complex, an international school and a health centre. Buildings designed in the Lao Lane Xang style will also be constructed.

 

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