Three staff members of the International Rivers Network, visiting the Nam Theun 2 construction area in June 2006, talked to villagers in three different impact zones and met with the Government of Laos and representatives from the Nam Theun 2 Power Company, Asian Development Bank and World Bank. During that trip IRN has identified a number of key concerns and recommendations.
IRN says according to interviews with villagers in three villages located along the upper part of the downstream channel, provisional cash compensation for loss of rice fields and common property resources has been wholly inadequate to compensate for the lost production values of their land.
IRN is concerned that in the Xe Bang Fai River area, where all the water will be diverted to, and which has the greatest number of impacted families, pilot livelihood restoration programs are only just commencing in 20 of the 159 villages.
IRN says contrary to earlier promises, NTPC has stated that it has no plans to clear the biomass in the reservoir area. If most of the biomass is not cleared from the reservoir before impoundment, the decomposing vegetation will cause serious water quality problems in the new reservoir, resulting in massive fish kills in both the reservoir area and downstream along the Xe Bang Fai.
IRN is also concerned that although construction is proceeding rapidly, key social and environmental management plans have not been completed, and key monitoring arrangements are still not yet in place.
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