A Vietnamese firm has given Lao authorities 12 billion kip to compensate the people who are affected by its golf course development project in the outskirts of Vientiane Capital. Meanwhile, the development of a new urban and economic center in the That Luang marshland by a Chinese investment group remains at a standstill as landowners continue to refuse to relocate.
Vientiane's Vice Mayor Anouphab Tounalom revealed that Vietnam's real estate and golf course developer, the Long Thanh Golf Company, recently gave Lao authorities 12 billion kip to pay for the evacuation of landowners from the project area at Dongphosy, Hatsayfong district, and to compensate them.
A recent survey showed that over 70 families have to be relocated. The Lao government will compensate those landowners who have titles and deeds to their lands, not only for the costs of their houses and other structures but also for construction materials and their cash crops. Crop compensation will match the farmers' three-year earnings from those crops.
Those who have no deeds but have lived in their plot of land for a long time will not be compensated for the land, though they will receive compensation for their houses and building materials. They will also receive crop compensation, amounting to three years' earnings in advance.
Furthermore, Lao authorities have designated a plot of land adjacent to the project’s area to be allocated to those who cannot find other places to relocate to or to farm. Officials said those people will also be considered for jobs or positions in the project.
The Long Thanh Group held a ground-breaking ceremony for its golf course project back in early January. The golf course will be part of a larger-scale real estate development project, covering over 557 hectares of land under a 50-year concession.
Besides the golf course, The Long Thanh Group also plans to build a new trade center that will provide a comprehensive business service, a five-star hotel and a villa resort, residences for foreign business families in Laos, and a hospital as well as an international school. The $1 billion investment project is scheduled for completion 12 years from now.
As for the controversial development of a new urban and economic center on a 1,000-hectare plot of the That Luang wetlands, for which a Chinese real estate firm received a 50-year concession, things remain at a standstill because landowners who are not happy with the compensation money offered by the Lao government, which is only $20 per square meter or one-fifth of the market price, refuse to move.
For more details in Lao, listen to Songrit's report, broadcast on 25 Feb 2010.