China’s rise as the country’s leading lender has been fueled by billions of dollars to finance a building spree of megaprojects, spanning large hydropower dams and economic zones to a flagship high-speed railway.
The deputy governor of Loei Province, which is immediately downstream of the site, has voiced local concerns that the impact of the dam could be even more significant than that already felt by the Xayaburi dam, despite it being considerably further upstream.
The bridge, which will take 36 months to build, will connect Bolikhamxay province in Laos to Thailand’s northeastern province of Bueng Kan.
The projects are controversial because of their environmental impact, displacement of villagers without adequate compensation, and questionable financial and power demand arrangements.
Water levels lowered by seven dams along a stretch of the Nam Ou River in Laos are blocking boat travel in a scenic area popular with tourists, impacting tour and passenger boat operators and other local businesses, Lao sources say.
The Vientiane-Vangvieng section of the China-Laos expressway, the first highway in Laos jointly constructed by the Lao government and China’s Yunnan Construction and Investment Holding Group (YCIH), was inaugurated on Sunday.
Sombath Somphone’s 2012 abduction by Lao police heralded an alarming trend of “disappearances” in mainland Southeast Asian countries.
To develop areas surrounding railway stations in the capital and Oudomxay, Vientiane and Luang Prabang provinces, with the aim of fostering industry and logistics.
“Iff we come to conclude that construction will have a damaging effect on the environment in Thailand, we will exercise our right as a member of the Mekong River Commission to stop the project.”