MARD wants power project halted hinh anh 1A section of the Serepok River that runs through Yok Don National Park may dry up as an effect of climate change.(Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA)- The Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development (MARD) has proposed Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc suspend a project on hydropower plants in the Central Highlands Province of Dak Lak to protect the local environment and wild animals. 

The ministry said in a statement that the construction of Drang Phok hydropower plant in Yok Don National Park could affect the environment. 

To build the plant, nearly 53 ha of forest will be cut down and another 10ha of forest will be cleared for temporary use. 

The operation of the plant would directly affect the habitat of wild animals, particularly elephants and tigers, the ministry said. 

The construction of a dam will interfere with the water flow of the Serepok River, leaving an impact on its ecological system and aquatic species. 

The building and operation of the plant would hamper forest protection and efforts to preserve the biodiversity of Yok Don National Park, the ministry said. 

An increase in water levels in the plant’s reservoir would also facilitate the illegal transport of wood from the park, it said. 

The planned plant will cover more than 308 hectares, including nearly 24 hectares of dipterocarp forest in the core area of Yok Don National Park

The plant, with total investment of 850 billion VND (38 million USD), would have a designed capacity of 26MW. 

The construction is scheduled to be implemented by the New Technology Application and Construction Investment Corporation. The corporation is reported to have hired a consultant to report on the project’s environmental impact. 

According to the MARD, the Central Highlands has seen serious loss of forest coverage in the past five years (about 6 percent). 

The loss of forest coverage, coupled with the effects of climate change, has harmed the lives of locals as well as socio-economic development in the region, the ministry said.-VNA