A delegation from the Steering Committee for the Northwest Region recently met with authorities from northern mountainous Lai Chau and Son La provinces to discuss the outcomes of the two’s respective resettlement programmes.

In recent years, over 20,000 households in Dien Bien, Son La and Lai Chau have needed to be relocated to make way for the construction of the 2,400-megawatt Son La Hydropower Plant, the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia.

The plant, situated in It Ong commune, Muong La district, Son La, officially commenced operations on December 23, 2012 after seven years of construction. It supplies an average 10.2 billion kilowatt hours each year to the national grid.

To make room for Son La, Huoi Quang and Ban Chat hydropower plants, a total of 44,647 people in Lai Chau have to migrate to 34 new areas established to accommodate them. Provincial authorities have so far implemented the resettlement project on schedule, with locals receiving compensation, basic infrastructure and small business set ups in relocated areas, among other amenities.

According to Trang Thi Xuan, Vice Chairwoman of the Son La People’s Committee, the province has safely moved 12,584 households from flooded areas near the Son La plant and handed over 99.9 percent of land allocated for those resettling families. The transitioned households have access to clean water and connections to the national grid.

In resettled areas, Son La has invested more than 6.4 trillion VND (298 million USD) to put 2,022 infrastructure projects into operation and spent over 47 billion VND (2.19 million USD) to create local livelihoods.

Nguyen Canh Viet, Deputy Head of the Steering Committee, spoke highly of the two provinces’ relocation efforts and noted that they should continue to increase the living standards of the newly formed communities.-VNA