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Laos: 4,400 families lose lands without compensation to Chinese railway project

"Chinese Railway Project in Laos Leaves Farmers in the Lurch", 10 January 2019

[T]he railway project, expected to be completed in 2021, has displaced more than 4,400 families from their land. Under Lao Decree 84 issued in April 2016, Lao citizens losing land to development projects must be compensated for lost income, property, crops, and plants.

However, many of these families have still not been compensated.

...Khalom says he still remembers the day that Chinese workers showed up with bulldozers and cleared out his and other villagers' land. He said he and other villagers protested.

...Rattanamany Khounnivong, vice minister at the Lao Ministry of Public Works and Transport, told RFA late last year that the government classified the affected families in several categories or priorities.

He said those who lost houses and did not have places to live would get paid first, while those who lost farmland might get paid later.

...Khounnivong said at a railway project committee meeting...that of the $300 million that the government must pay out in compensation for losses related to the project, only $156 million has been paid. The government must therefore borrow money from China to pay the rest this year.