Hydro Power Plant in Quang Nam province
Hydropower plants destroy forests, harm people…
Hydropower plants have been encroaching on a large forest area in Dong Giang district. A Vuong plant with the capacity of 210MW, covers a huge area of 1158 hectares, including 653 hectares of natural forest. Meanwhile, An Diem, a small plant with the capacity of 15MW, also appropriates 124 hectares of land and destroys 74 hectares of the forests.
In order to give place to hydropower plants, local residents have to leave their land, but they cannot settle in the new area. A lot of them have left the resettlement area, where they have no land for production and live in the apartments with poor material facilities and poor infrastructure.
“All the fertile land suitable to agricultural production has been used for hydropower plants. Meanwhile, local residents have been led to waterless land, where they cannot make agricultural production to their living,” said Do Thai, Chairman of Dong Giang People’s Committee.
Thai went on to say that the houses in the resettlement areas all have bad quality which cannot ensure normal life for local people.
Besides the above said A Vuong and An Diem, Dong Giang also has Song Kon 2 project covering an area of 347 hectares, including 66 hectares of natural forest, Za Hung 91.37 hectares, Song Bung 4A 23 hectares, Song Bung 5 covers 132 hectares and Song Bung 6 covers 38 hectares.
In 2006, the resettlement areas were delivered to local residents by A Vuong’s investor. The residents were told that every household would be given 400 square metres for accommodations and 1.5 hectares of land for production. However, in fact, they only received 200 square metres for accommodation, and 0.2 hectares of rice land, which is not enough for them to earn their living.
To date, The Dong Giang district’s authorities usually have to provide emergency food aid to 1280 people in the district, most of them had left their land to give place to hydropower plants.
“We have many times asked power plant investors to give 10 kg of rice a month to every person, but they have refused,” Tai said.
… and pollute the environment
As people get hungry, they run the risk of destroying old forests to get land for cultivation. There have been no official statistics about the area of forests destroyed. In the first months of the year, 32 households reportedly left the resettlement areas designed for them. They go further into the old forests to clear trees for cultivation. Tens of hectares of primitive forests have been burned.
Tai said that two households would be prosecuted for their behaviors of destroying the forests. “However, I feel sorry for them. They did this just because they need to earn their living,” Tai said.
The existence of hydropower plants has changed the face of the land. The currents of the rivers on which hydropower plants are located all have changed. Hydropower plant reservoirs have taken all the water, leaving the rivers exhausted.
Tai has called on power plant investors to sit together with local authorities to discuss the solutions to the problems, in order to ensure the primitive natural environment and help local residents settle in the new land. The Dong Giang district’s authorities have also proposed to consider suggested hydropower plant projects before licensing.
“How can Dong Giang’s people can earn their living if their land, rice fields and forests have been removed for hydropower plants?” said Le Muon, Deputy Director of the Quang Nam provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.