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

Come to collect compensation payments, former residents told

Vientiane Times, 27th April 2015

Vientiane authorities are still waiting to compensate many people who have not yet collected their compensation payments for the land they lost to the 450 Year Road, which was commenced back in 2008. An official of the Vientiane Natural Resources and Environment Department, who asked not to be named, told Vientiane Times on Friday that the compensation has been available for four or five years now.

“Now there is no time limit for the compensation and we will wait for them to come to the department and get their money,” he said. Out of the 600 parcels of land formerly owned by residents in Xaysettha, Hadxaifong and Xaythany districts that were acquired by the government to build the road at the end of 2010, compensation has been paid out on almost 400 plots, but remains outstanding for another 211 parcel of lands. Part of the three year old problem is that many of the former owners said they hadn’t collected the compensation money mainly because they had bought the land for a comparatively high price but were now being offered only a small payout, he said. In a bid to solve the problem, the Vientiane authorities are giving former landowners first right of refusal on the 50m land reserves, before they are put up for sale on the open market.

The 20km road was built under the government’s policy to convert land into capital. A strip of land 50 metres wide on either side of the road was surplus to requirements and is being put up for sale to cover some of the US$8 0 million cost of building the road. The rest of the land reserves will be sold by the lending bank which funded the work, with the bank soon to offer them for sale to the general public. Vientiane residents also mentioned that some sections of the 450 Year Road currently have some quite long grass on both sides of the road. They speculated that maybe these places may still not have been sold because they are considered to be too expensive. However, the Lao Federation of Trade Unions (LFTU), a government body, is relocating from the city centre to new offices on the 450 Year Road in Xaythany district, Vientiane, as are other private companies. In addition, the construction of the new Ministry of Information, C ulture and Tourism building on the 450 Year Road in Vientiane looks set for completion on schedule at the end of this year. Construction of the concrete road began in 2008. The 450 Year Road was one of 21 projects undertaken to mark the 450th anniversary of Vientiane as the capital, also aiming to reduce traffic congestion.

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