Proposed Vinh Son 2 hydropower project causes public controversy
VietNamNet Bridge - Scientists, Gia Lai provincial authorities, local residents and managers of Kon Chu Rang Nature Reserve oppose the project on building a hydropower plant in the sanctuary.  

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The Vinh Son – Song Hinh Hydropower JSC has proposed to build a hydropower plant called Vinh Son 2 with the capacity of 80MW in Gia Lai and Binh Dinh provinces.

However, the project has faced strong opposition from the public and local authorities. The Gia Lai provincial People’s Committee has sent a dispatch to the government and relevant ministries requesting not to license the project.

It has warned that if the project is implemented, this will affect 265 hectares of forest in the Kon Chu Rang Natural Reserve - a primeval special-used forest. 

To run the hydropower plant, the water from Say Stream in Gia Lai province would be diverted to Dak Kron Bung Lake in Binh Dinh province, which would deplete the Say Stream in the dry season.

If an underground trench is built within the framework of the project to serve the diversion of water from Say Stream to Dak Kron Bung Lake, it would have negative impact on the ecosystem and environment in the natural reserve.

If an underground trench is built within the framework of the project to serve the diversion of water from Say Stream to Dak Kron Bung Lake, it would have negative impact on the ecosystem and environment in the natural reserve.

Pham Xuan Truong, deputy chair of the Kbang district, confirmed that the project was once rejected when it was discussed at local authorities’ meetings.

Truong said local officials feared that Vinh Son 2 might be the ‘second An Khe – Kanak’.

The An Khe – Kanak hydropower plant, which was built some years ago, has upset local people because of the serious impact on the environment and daily life.

Scientists have also strongly protested the project.

Dr Bao Huy from Tay Nguyen University commented that Vietnam has borne too many negative effects from the ‘hydropower movement’.

One hydropower plant poorly designed can cause hydrological imbalance, drought in dry season and flood in rainy season. It may also cause some endemic species to disappear, damaging forests and natural habitats.

Le Anh Tuan, deputy head of the Climate Change Research Institute, agrees with the Gia Lai provincial authorities that the project should be rejected. 

Tuan stressed that once the forests are put under conservation there should not be any intervention.

Huynh An, deputy head of the Vinh Son – Song Hinh’s Project Management Unit, tried to reassure the public by saying that the project would affect only 16 hectares of forests in the natural reserve.

He said the company’s report on the possible impact on the environment had been approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the ENvironment  (MONRE).

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Dan Viet

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