Khounkham District, September 2, 2015phousaathandover

The residents of four more villages built along the Hai and Hinboun rivers in Khammouane have taken ownership of the facilities built for them on flood-safe ground by the Theun-Hinboun Power Company, or THPC.

On September 2 residents of Phoumakneng, Phousaat, Tha and Thamtem villages gathered at Ban Phousaat for the official handover of the houses, health centres, schools, electricity and water supply systems and other community facilities built by THPC over the past six years.

The transfer was signed by Robert Allen, THPC General Manager and Keolandon Chanthapany, the Governor of Khounkham District, witnessed by the Governor of Khammouane, Odai Sudaporn. The ceremony followed a similar transfer of ownership conducted at two villages in Hinboun District in June.

THPC began constructing new villages downstream of its power plant in 2009 as part of the Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project. The project, inaugurated in early 2013, is expected to aggravate the length and intensity of natural floods that occur during some wet seasons, and so THPC has been relocating villages to ensure that local people are not endangered.

The facilities at the four villages, including irrigation system, temples, roads and other public infrastructure, cost THPC around US$7.75 million. Villagers have received new fields in the area and still have access to much of their former land from the old villages nearby. The relocated families can also benefit from programs to help them improve agricultural production or learn skills for business development.

At the handover ceremony Mr Allen said that while the success of each family’s livelihoods in the new villages depended largely on the efforts of the villagers, THPC would continue to support the communities until it became apparent that each village was moving towards sustainable prosperity. Mr Allen also called on the district and provincial authorities to contribute to the services and maintenance support required to keep each village in good condition.

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Many families moving to the villages chose to build their own houses with THPC funding, while the company took charge of constructing public facilities such as the schools and clinics.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Photos: THPC/Jim Holmes

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