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

Land owners notified of compensation for highway project

Vientiane Times, December 23, 2015

The Vientiane Natural Resources and Environment Department has announced that compensation will be awarded to people who have had their land appropriated to enable a 9.5km road to be built through the That Luang marsh. The construction of this road in Vientiane begins in Donnokkhoum village, passes through the marsh to Xiengda village and links to the 450 Year Road.

Forty owners of land on a section of the new road being built in Xiengda village were named on a list of people to be compensated by the department as their parcels of land were affected by the project. The state publicly released the information on December 16. An official from the Vientiane Natural Resources and Environment Department, who asked not to be named, told Vientiane Times on Tuesday that some houses in Xiengda village were affected but most of the land was used for agriculture. All of these parcels of land have been included in the compensation package, he said. The land along this road is affected because a swathe of land 200 metres wide on either side of the road was sold off by the government to cover the cost of the road’s construction, under the policy of converting land into capital. However some people who lost their land to the project have yet to come forward to claim compensation and others still have not received a payout.
The road is being built in three phases. Once complete, it will be 25 metres wide, not including sidewalks. The first stage sees the road connecting Donnokkhoum village to Kamphaengmeuang Road in Donkoi village. The second phase links Kamphaengmeuang Road to Xiengda village across the marsh and the third section of the road runs from Xiengda village to the 450 Year Road. The cost of the 9.5 km highway is estimated at more than US$150 million. It is being built by the Namtha Road-Bridge Construction Company. Vientiane decided to build the new highway to expand urban development outwards and reduce traffic congestion in the city centre. The new road will play an important role in contributing to socio-economic growth. The daughter of Mrs Lom, who is on the list to receive compensation, said her mother owned over one hectare of rice fields in Xiengda village. Some people recently asked to buy the land for US$115 (about 933,000 kip) per square metre but she did not sell it because the land was located alongside the new road. She was shocked when she saw her name on the department’s list for compensation for converting the 200 metres of land along each side of the road because it awarded her only US$10 (about 80,000 kip) per metre, or less than one tenth of what she could have sold it for.
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