Lao village resettlement for railway hailed a win-win

2024-06-29 10:24:50China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Three children pose for a photo at the China-Laos Railway relocation village of Buam Aor of Luang Prabang Province in Laos on Tuesday. (JIANG JIAXUAN/CHINA DAILY)

Three years after Lao villagers were resettled for the construction of the China-Laos Railway, they are finding their improved living conditions satisfactory.

"We are very happy and satisfied with the facilities and new houses provided," Somphong Seumboun, chief of Buam Aor village in northern Laos' Luang Prabang Province, said. "I am thankful for the government and the authority that provided the place for us to live here."

The Buam Aor Resettlement Village is one of four relocated villages along the China-Laos Railway, which in total provided 349 households with houses equipped with lighting and digital TV, and public facilities such as village offices, schools, health centers, public toilets and garbage collection points, according to information released by the Chinese consulate in Luang Prabang.

Infrastructure construction also included roads inside and outside the village, electricity, water supply and a drainage system.

With China's aid, construction of Buam Aor village started in April 2021 and was completed in March 2022.

An official ceremony on the resettlement was held in April 2022, during which former Lao minister of public works and transport Viengsavath Siphandone and former Chinese consul general in Luang Prabang Li Zhigong jointly planted a friendship tree in front of the village.

Somphong said 107 families, comprising 482 people, are living in the newly relocated village.

"The living conditions are very good here. The livelihood of the people here is good because people do not have to spend a lot of money on housing; so they can just save as much as they can earn," Somphong said.

Compared with the old village, Somphong said the road condition is also much better in the resettlement village.

"The relocation project provided all the compensation, including land," said Somphong, noting that the villagers used to have a land area of 300 square meters for farming, but now have 600 square meters per household.

Somphong said most of the villagers rely on farming for a living, with a few of them working as company employees, teachers, police or medical staff members.

Over 10 young people are working with the China-Laos Railway, Somphong said.

"I am so happy to live here," said 41-year-old villager Sone, adding that the new village is far from the railway, and bigger.

Sone said he has taken the China-Laos railway to Vientiane and found the travel experience very comfortable.

Bounsy Thatsanavong, 65, said he is happy to see the project happen because the locals have benefited a lot from it.

Noting that farmland is a bit far from the new village, Somphong said he hopes more assistance can be provided to the village to help them build a road to make it easier for villagers to transport agricultural goods.

"If we cannot get any more assistance, maybe I will try to work with other villagers to build a road on our own," Somphong said.

Stretching 1,035 kilometers to connect Kunming in Southwest China's Yunnan province with the Lao capital Vientiane, the China-Laos Railway is a Belt and Road Initiative project and also fits Laos' strategy to transform itself from a landlocked country to a land-linked one.


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