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Lao people'sdream:Laos-China Railway takes away poverty

发布: 2018-12-20 09:17 |  作者: 函子 |   查看: 109次

Among the six countriesin Indo-China Peninsula, Laos isspecialfor geographically being surrounded by China, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Being mountainous and short of roads, the Laos transportation is described as“extremely underdeveloped”.In order to break the plight, the Lao government declared in 2015 ---to change Laos from a “land-locked country” to a “land-linked country”.

“Land-linkedCountry”, a term created by the Lao people, has been regarded as Laos national strategy, which reflects the precise understanding of Laos' position.How to link?One of the "keys" is to build the Laos-China railway from the Lao-china borderMohan-BotenPort southwards to Vientiane.

The Laos-China railwaywill start from the Lao-China border in the north and arriveat Vientiane, capital of Laos. It is the first overseas railway project invested and to be built by China,jointly operated by two countries and connected with China's railway networks. The entire railway adopts Chinese technology and equipment, which is to be completed and open to traffic by December 2021.The railway is designed with a speed of 160 km/h. Thetotal track length is 414 km, among which the length of bridge is 62 km, the length of tunnel is 198 km, accounting for 62.7% of the total length.

As an important project along the “Belt And Road”, theLaos-China railway is also the important part of the Trans-Asian Railway.The railway has been on a nine-year journey since it was approvedby the LaosNational Assembly in 2010 and officially started construction in 2016.

From expectation to reality, the Laos-Chinarailway has brought many changes and expectations to the Lao people in recent years.

Prime Minister of Laos: Laos benefits most from the “Belt and Road” Initiative.

On September 25, 2018, the Lao prime minister Thongloun met with the visitingZhao Leji,member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureauof CPC, secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection,and member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee. He said that every achievements of Chinahave encouraged Laos to further strengthen the friendly Sino-Laos ties, and the deep cooperation with China under the framework of “the Belt and Road”Initiative.

To Strengthen the cooperation with China under the framework of the “Belt and Road” Initiativeis the true words of the Laoleaders.Two days later, Lao prime minister Thongloun told the visiting secretary-general of Boao Forum for Asia, LiBaodong, that the "Belt and Road" Initiative proposed by President XiJinping has provided huge opportunities for the infrastructural,economic and social development of the countries along the route, from which Laos has benefited the most.

The benefits of Laos-Chinarailway to Laos are obvious and will be enjoyed for generations.

Once the Laos-Chinarailway finishes construction and opens to traffic, the time from the Lao-China border to Vientiane will be shortened from 16 hours by bus to 3 hours by train.According to the report by the Ministry of Public Construction and Transportation of Laos, theLaos-Chinarailway will help Laos achieve its strategy of external cooperation and connectivity with China and other ASEAN countries, and will play an important role in attracting foreign investment, modern technology and human resources.The VientianeTimes of Laos also thinks that the construction of theLaos-China railway will become an important pillar of Laos' economic growth.

Thongloun highly praised the railway after a visit to a railway construction site in northern Oudomxay Province. He said the Laos-Chinarailway is a strategic cooperation project between the two countries. The project is a link of win-win cooperation and mutual development between the two countries and will become a strong power for Laos’economic development, as well as bring the people of both countries more benefits. He wishes theLaos-China railway a historic green railwaywith high quality and efficiency.

People along the railway are feelling thebenefits deeply.“The construction of the Laos-China railway will boost the economic development along the route and provide more job opportunities and possibility of development for local Lao people,”Natsavee Norasing, a resident of Luangprabang Province said in an interview.

“The Laos-China railway project is under construction, with 40% of the project completed so far, and the most positive impact on Laos is to promote local employment.” Tang Xiaojun, a Lao mediaman, gives more convincing figures: “there were 7,112 jobs in six sections of the Laos-China railway project in July last year, all of which were provided to the Lao people. Such mass hiring of Lao staff is rare.”

The Laos-Chinarailway boosts economy

As the old Chinese saying goes, "If you want to be rich, build the road first."The poor infrastructure is thekey reason for the slow growth of Laos domestic economy.

With an area of 236,800 square kilometers and a population of more than 6.5 million, Laos had only one railway line of 3.5 kilometers before the construction of the China-Laos Railway.At the end of the line is Thanaleng Railway Station, located in the south of Vientiane.It is as small as a railway station in Chinese countryside towns.With the construction of the Laos-Chinarailway, the situation will be completely changed.

Nuke, a grocery store owner who lives near Vientiane railway station, is full of expectation about the Laos-China railway.“We are all happy to have a railway here,” he said. “When it opens, more tourists will come and business will be better.Even though the government took over our land, but we will be compensated and our lives will change.WhenI get money, I'll visit China by train.

Thingmiphong, a resident fromLouangnamtha Province which is the first Lao province onthe Laos-China railwayline from China, hopes that local farmers' products will go to international markets.She said Laos is an agricultrural dominated country, and the Laos-China railway has provided convenient conditions for local agricultural products to go intooverseas markets, which will increase farmers' income.

The direct feeling and expectation of the Lao peopleis to let human resources and products flow and keep economy alive. Natsavee Norasing, a resident fromLouangphrabang Provincesaid: “The railway can greatly improve Laos domestic transportation, promote population flow between China and Laos, which will provide huge space for development of the social economy, cultural tourism and labor market. Also, domestic demands of Laos will be further expanded. Mutual development and prosperity of culture and economy between two countries will be achieved. It is really convenient and good to local people."

The Laos-China railway is like an engine that drives more and more local industrial chains.Huang Difu, general manager of the international branch of China Railway Corporation said, “The construction of the railway will directly drive the development of local engineering, supply of building materials, electricity, agriculture and animal husbandry, service industry, logistics and other industries in Laos. It willpromotelocal employment and industrial upgrading.What’s more, the railway also plays an important role in promoting the development of tourism, trade, agriculture, animal husbandry and processing industries along the line.”

Of course, Vientiane is not the teminal of the Laos-Chinarailway. When the Laos-China railway is finished, there will be more development space for the ASEAN. The time the Laos-China railway started building,Yuxi-Mohan railway in China also did, which is expected to be completed at the same time.By then, the central line of the Trans-Asian Railway will take shape.In the future, the Laos-China railwaywill connect with railways of Thailand, Malaysia and other countries and become a new economic link between China and the ASEAN

 

Compensation can better people's lives

 

With a total length of 414 kilometers, 80 percent of the railwayis going through mountains and plateaus, including a 7 degree seismic zone and two depopulated areas.In addition, the United States left nearly 100 million cluster bombs unexploded in Laos during the 1960s and 1970s, and the Laos-China railway will pass through these dangerous areas.Although the Laos-China railway has made very reasonable planning, it inevitably involves land acquisition and compensation along the line.

 

Building bridges with great difficulties(photoed by Chen Hongbing)

Before the groundbreaking ceremony for the railway in December 2016, the statistics work forland expropriation and compensation was basically finished: about 3,000 hectares of land will be permanently taken over and 800 hectares of land willbe temporarily used. 4,411 households will be affected due to the construction of the railway project.

After many coordinating meetings between China and Laos, the Lao government is now seeking the opinion of relevant parties on the compensation standard.According to requirements of railway projects, the compensation prices for lands in different sections are also different, which is mainly based on whether the land is connected to national highways, provincial highways, village roads or roadless.

Villagers affected by the railway project will also be paid for their houses and apartments,as well as small buildings such as kitchens, sundries, garages, shops and animal houses.In addition, the developers of the railway project will compensate the crops and fruit trees that must be uprooted due to the railway construction.

In order to ensure the compensation process is fair and transparent , the Laos government also requires relevant parties to open accounts at Laos foreign trade banks.At present, four provinces and one city along the railway have agreed on the amount of compensation.According to the liabilities of contract, Laos is responsible for land compensation, while the Laos-China Railway Company is responsible for demolition compensation. About 500 million Yuan has been allocated as demolition compensation budget, and the Laos government promises to take necessary measures to ensure that the compensation process is open, fair and orderly.

A new village for Louangphrabang migrants built by Power Construction Corporation of China, resettling more than 12,600 people (photoed by Huang Yaohui)

According to the Laos statistics bureau, the Per capita GDP of Laos was $2,468 in 2017. The government's compensation standard is 320,000 kips - 3.5 million kips per square metre (about $37- $410 per square metre). Plus other compensation for farmland, homesteads, youngcrops and so on, the amount of compensation will be considerable and equal to the annual income of local people.“Reasonable compensation for demolition and relocation will improve the living and housing conditions of the people along the railway." said Laos mediaman Tang Xiaojun.

“Although the railway project affects factories, farmland, private land and villages in northern LaosincludingLouangnamtha, Oudomxay and Louangphrabang, the government is willing to compensate, and the pricing is reasonable, so people can accept it.” Khamsam Laochong, a resident from OudomxayProvince said :“I hope the railway can make life easier for local people and help us take awaypoverty.”

Never forgetthe public welfare whilebuilding the railway

 

Chinese companiessuch as China Railway Engineering Corporation, Power Construction Corporation of Chinadeclare thatthey will makethe Laos-China railway“a way of friendship,a way of incorruptibility and a way of wellbeing”. They never forget the publicwelfare while building the railway.

In the Laos sustainable development reportreleased in 2018, Power Construction Corporation of China declares thatthey will undertake the social responsibility, and make efforts to promotelocal employment, technology and social development while conducting construction. They will actively do compulsory donations,flood-fighting and emergency rescues etc, contribute to the local education and people's livelihood, respect local culture, religion and customs, so as to promote the exchange of Chinese traditional culture and local culture.

The Laos leader(left) from Xieng Ngeun district of Louangphrabang Province awards the certificate to the project manager of Power Construction Corporation of China. (Photoed by Peng Yongqing)

Since the project department of the Power Construction Corporation of China was set up in Xieng Ngeun district of Louangphrabang Province in 2016,they have built about 104 km of roads in Laos, and input about 118.58 million yuan. They also built a new 72km power line and a new transformer substationof115- 22kv in the Juge river, as well as five reservoirs and 11 km of water pipes. They participated in landslide repair projects many times on Louangphra section of No. 13national highway in Laos.In addition, the project department has also opened a technical training school for the Laoworkers, and conducted three training courses, providing more than 100 local jobs.

On July 23 this year, asub-dam under construction in Attapu province, south of Laoscollapsed, causing huge losses of life and property.While motivatingChinese companies involved in the Laos-China railway construction to donate money and materials to support the affacted area, the project department of China-Laos Railway sent an engineering team to the disaster site and rebuilt four new highway bridges in more than 40 days.Laos prime minister Thongloun awarded a commendation to the Laos-China Railway Corporation, China Railway Engineering Corporation,Power Construction Corporation of China for their contribution to the bridge rebuilding in the disaster area of Attapu.

“Though building the Laos-China railway can bring some negative impacts, such as social security problems caused by large population movements, insufficient accommodation, cultural conflicts, and environmental pollution in Laos."Natsavee Norasing, a resident of Louangphrabang Province,dose not worry about these problems: “We are working together to solve these problems. While doing this, the people of two countries will be more intimate and united like a family.”

Power Construction Corporation of China is building a new school for migrants from NanouRiver of Louangphrabang Province. The village head praises the new school. (Photoed by Huang Yaohui)

Western medias are skeptical of the construction of the Laos-China railway. Whatever the compensation or environment issues, the Lao government and people willhave reasonable policies and comprehensive evaluation. In constructing the Laos-China railway, the two countries will cooperate with each other and understand each other, because It is not only a traffic artery, but more like a “friendship bridge”linking the people of two countries.

Thanks to the Laos-Chinarailway, all things will be better, wherever in China or Laos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banners about theLaos-China railway (photoed by Ch 
Banners about theLaos-China railway (photoed by Ch 

Banners about theLaos-China railway (photoed by Ch 
Banners about theLaos-China railway (photoed by Ch 

Construction sites of the Laos-China railway (phot 
Construction sites of the Laos-China railway (phot 

Construction sites of the Laos-China railway (phot 
Construction sites of the Laos-China railway (phot 

Construction sites of the Laos-China railway (phot 
Construction sites of the Laos-China railway (phot 

Building bridges with great difficulties(photoed b 
Building bridges with great difficulties(photoed b 

A new village for Louangphrabang migrants built by 
A new village for Louangphrabang migrants built by 

The Laos leader(left) from Xieng Ngeun district of 
The Laos leader(left) from Xieng Ngeun district of 

Power Construction Corporation of China is buildin 
Power Construction Corporation of China is buildin 

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