Vientiane [Laos] October 20 (ANI): Weeks before the opening of China's bullet train project in Laos, villagers who lost land to the project say they are still waiting for promised compensation.
The project is part of Beijing's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative and is slated to open in the next 6 weeks but the villagers who were forced to forfeit land to the project are still waiting for compensation, a problem that has plagued many mega-projects in Laos, Radio Free Asia reported.
"We would like to receive the compensation as soon as possible because we're in the most difficult time right now," said one resident adding that the Chinese authorities lied to us.
"They said they would pay us in September," the resident informed.
Another resident told Radio Free Asia that the villagers have not received any official notice from the authorities about their payments.
"We're not sure whether they'll pay us or not," he said. "We're waiting for it," he added.
Under Lao Decree 84, issued in April 2016, people who lose land to development projects must be compensated for lost income, property, crops, and plants and project owners are required to guarantee that living conditions for those displaced will be as good as, or better than, they were before the project was started, Radio Free Asia reported.
The project was started in 2016 and is part of a longer rail line that will link China to mainland Southeast Asia. (ANI)