Villager Comments from 2002 Symposium
MRS. KHIANE, PROJECT AREA RESIDENT, NAKAI DISTRICT
I would like to present my total agreement with the Government Project Nam Theun 2, because it will help to solve the problem of poverty and hardship, and to improve the working conditions of women in the area. As women of the area, we have no break during the maternity period, there is no school for our children, no roads, no hospital, the health of the mothers and children is poor, and mortality is very high among children and mothers. The Project will provide development in various sectors such as electricity, road, school and food security.
MR. BANCHONG, VICE CHIEF OF BAN NAKAI NEUA VILLAGE KHAMMOUANE PROVINCE REPRESENTATIVE OF BAN NAKAI NEUA
From this morning, I have followed attentively the meeting process by listening to the presentations and comments. I fully agree with the Government policy concerning the poverty issue. The poverty of ethnic groups at Nakai Area is very serious. Poverty has lasted in this area for more than one hundred years. There are no schools, no roads, slash and burn cultivation has been practiced and there is rice deficiency for the population. Actually, the Government policy is to stop slash and burn agriculture so now we have stopped this practice. Currently, we have no rice, nobody provides rice to us, and there are no hospitals. For example, my wife has nine children, of which four have died. Only five of my children are living and I often think of my dead children. Due to poverty, many women and children die while giving birth. May I take a little more time to speak about poverty which is hated by everyone, we have no solution how to eradicate. In terms of environment, the forest area decreases and starvation increases. I heard that World Bank supports the Project, therefore I would be very glad to see the Nam Theun 2 Project implemented. This is the will of our ethnic group of Nakai Area as the Project advantages will contribute to the directly affected people in terms of social, cultural, economic, financial and environmental matters. Your observations and comments all suggest to eradicate poverty in our Nakai Area and enhance development. I understand that the public consultation at national and local levels with participation of officials, international organizations and stakeholders takes a very long process of 7 years. If this was not the case of the project, completion should have been achieved a long time ago. We are waiting without a date limit and we do not know who will decide to build the Project or when. In addition, I would like to express my gratitude to articipants from local and international organizations for your comments and suggestions concerning poverty eradication. All of you discuss poverty issues with interest and with the aim of finding solutions to the problem. Everybody understands and wishes our ethnic groups to overcome the hundred years' poverty. We are very glad to listen to your full support to eradicate poverty in our area. Again, I would like to take this opportunity to inform all people who cannot attend this meeting through you, that our ethnic group of Nakai has no objection and agree with Government to implement this project. Finally, if you have any opportunity, you are welcome to visit our village to see our living condition.
MRS.KEO OULA SOULIGNADET, VICE PRESIDENT OF LAO WOMEN'S UNION IN KHAMMOUANE PROVINCE RESPONSIBLE FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN'S INTERESTS
I would like to thank those responsible by allowing stakeholders to participate. Through this meeting we are aware of information and the progress of the Project. On this occasion, I would like to thank the representatives from Government, NTEC, Ambassadors and all participants in expressing their concern about the living condition of the population in the Project Area. May I ask a question again, is there anybody that can guaranty when the project will start construction? I have participated in the Public Consultation Process with regard to the resettlement of the population from the existing villages to the new areas for a long period of time. I think if the delay continues the poverty of the affected population will become worse. As a local expression says, we will be "double poorer". The meaning is explained by our two persons from the Project Area, given the fact that the poverty has existed since many years ago. People are waiting and they become "double poorer" through the Public Consultation because they cannot repair their house, they cannot build new houses, they cannot extend their agricultural areas or plant trees because they have to move from their existing location to new one according to the Resettlement Action Plan. I think the "double poorer" situation is real, and will get worse if the project delay continues. Behind us are five thousand people waiting for the answer from the outcome of this meeting. When I go back to the area I would like to have an answer to assure the local people who wish to eradicate poverty, namely to get rid of the "double poorer" situation. I would like to request all involved responsible to consider as soon as possible the project in order to eliminate the situation of "double poorer" for the five thousand affected people of the area.