Lowland people get afraid of hydropower plants

VietNamNet Bridge – Since the day hydropower plants sprung up in the highland, lowland people have been living in constant anxiety. They have lost the land for agriculture production, faced drought in dry season and floods in rainy months.

hydropower plants, pollution, flood, lowland

Local people have been unhappy about the pending Song Tranh 4 project.

As per the request by the Prime Minister, Quang Nam provincial authorities have decided to cancel Bong Mieu and Ha Ra hydropower projects and stop the other 18 projects which are believed to have negative impacts on the population, forest land and the environment.

The people in Tam Lanh commune of Phu Ninh district, where the investors planned to develop Bong Mieu hydropower plant, feel so happy on the news.

“The provincial authorities made a right decision to cancel Bong Mieu project. If a plant was set up there, in the small commune of Tam Lanh, we would have to leave for other land areas,” Le Van Hau, a local resident in Tam Lanh commune, said.

“I believe that hydropower projects just aim in the deforestation in a legal way. It’d be better to cancel all of them,” he added.

Nguyen Quang Thu, Director of the Quang Nam provincial Department of Industry and Trade, said Bong Mieu and Ha Ra projects have been canceled because of the forecast low investment efficiency and the high negative impacts on the environment.

The Ha Ra project has the small designed capacity of 1 MW, but it was planned to take a large area of forest land.

“We continue checking hydropower plant projects. The unfeasible projects which may affect the environment and population would be weeded out of the hydropower plant development program,” he said.

The Song Tranh 4 project in Hiep Duc district was not found in the list of the 18 canceled hydropower projects in Quang Nam province. The project, named in the national power plant development program for 2006-2015, has been pending for the last many years.

In 2007, the local residents along the Tranh River in Que Luu commune were informed that Song Tranh 4 project would start soon. However, nothing has been done on the land. Meanwhile, people cannot till the land for agriculture production.

According to Luong Xuan Dong in Que Luu commune, he was told that Song Tranh 4 would take 2.5 hectares of forest area and that his family would have to leave for the resettlement area.

However, no progress in the project implementation has been made since April 2011. As a result, Dong cannot plant the forest on the 2.5 hectare area, and has no other source of income except some hundreds square meters of fields, which has made his family necessitous.

A report of the Quang Nam provincial Industry and Trade Department showed that 44 hydropower plant projects with the total capacity of 1,584.6MW have been approved. The Vu Gia – Thu Bon river system has to bear most of the projects. Ten plants would be set up on it with the capacity of 1,147 MW in total, accounting for 72.37 percent of the total provincial capacity.

Quang Nam has 763,000 hectares of forest land, of which 11,000 hectares have been reserved for hydropower plant projects. To date, forests have been re-planted on 28 hectares only.

Thanh Mai

hydropower plants, pollution, flood, lowland