Click here for Lao version/ຄລິກບ່ອນນີ້ເພື່ອອ່ານພາສາລາວ
Lao authorities said the government would seek to review all
current long-termed land concession agreements awarded to local and foreign investors
after most of the awarded concessions were found to violate laws and
regulations, causing widespread impacts on the people and the environment.
Prime Minister Office’s Minister in charge of the
administration and protection of national land Kham-Ouane Boupha said that the
implementation of the investment protection policy concerning land leasing or
land concession would have to be reviewed because of problems in the
concessions to both local and foreign investors. The Lao government has so far awarded
a total of 1,126 land concession agreements, with 398 granted to foreign investors
covering an area ranging from 8,000 to 50,000 hectares per concession.
Mr. Kham-Ouane said most of the land concessions have caused
widespread impacts on people and the environment because, in many
instances, they included villagers’ farm lands and, in others, caused
widespread deforestation because conservation forests were annexed to the
Moreover, conservation forest land was included in the concessions
for industrial crops plantation, instead of degraded lands as specifically prescribed
in the regulations.
Mr. Kham-Ouane said the government’s secretariat had issued
Announcement No. 743 to temporarily suspend the granting of land concessions
nationwide beginning May 8, 2007, after finding that a lot of them did not
comply with the laws and regulations.
The misuse of lands was attributed to the lack of proper
land survey prior to awarding the concessions, to determine the suitability of
the lands to be leased out and the crops to be planted. Nor was there a survey
of market demands for the intended crops.
Several massive land concessions also caused conflicts with
the villagers due to the low compensation rate offered by the investors in
return for their relocation.In the case
of the City Development Project in the That Luang marsh awarded to a Chinese
investment group, the land awarded was scaled back to 200 from the 1,600 hectares
originally offered due to strong resistance from the villagers.
Pongern reported from Bangkok on 01 July, 2009. Listen to his report for
more details in Lao, or read our Lao text. (English description by Songrit