Farmers in Vietnam’s commune protest wind power project over alleged house, crop damage

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Farmers in Vietnam’s commune protest wind power project over alleged house, crop damage

This image shows residents in Thanh Hai Commune, Thanh Phu District, Ben Tre Province, Vietnam gathering at the construction site of a wind power project to protest alleged damage to their houses, crops, and aquaculture. Photo: Mau Truong / Tuoi Tre

Many households in a commune in Vietnam have barred the ongoing building of a wind power plant to claim compensation for house and crop damage allegedly caused by the construction.

Over the past several days, many residents have gathered in front of the construction site of a licensed wind power project in Thanh Hai Commune, Thanh Phu District, Ben Tre Province to express their opposition, local authorities said.

Alleging that the building of the plant has caused damage to their houses, crops, and aquaculture, the protestors have prevented trucks carrying building materials from entering the site, Mai Van Hung, deputy chairman of the commune’s administration, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Monday.

The district has changed positively since the project was implemented, with some roads having been built, facilitating the transport of local farmers’ agricultural and aquatic products and thereby relieving people’s difficulties, Hung said.

However, a number of farmers have come together to demand a halt to the project, arguing that the ongoing construction of the wind power plant has adversely affected their houses and shrimp farms, the official claimed.

They are afraid that such damage will continue after the plant is completed and put into operation, Hung added.

Le Thuy Trang, a local farmer, expressed her anxiety that the operation of wind power poles will be detrimental to her plants and crops.

Another resident told Tuoi Tre that wind turbine blades will create hoarfrost, destroying local vegetation.

Currently, about 12 households claimed compensation ranging from VND20 million (US$880) to VND500 million ($21,900) for damage allegedly caused by the project, local authorities said.

Le Thien Thinh, deputy director of Ecowin Energy Corporation, the project’s investor, said that his company had paid satisfactory compensation to relevant residents before the construction started.

“However, some households have claimed very unreasonable compensation,” Thinh claimed.

“They live several hundreds of meters apart from the construction site but they demanded damages for their dead clams or slow-growing shrimp.”

The director lamented that the protests have caused the project’s progress to run behind schedule, resulting in a total loss of VND100 billion ($4.37 million).

Within this month, local authorities will persuade locals to facilitate the development of the project while asking the investor to pay adequate compensation to households for any actual damage, if any, Hung said.

“If this problem is still not resolved, we will handle it by law,” the official stated.

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