More hydropower projects in central Vietnam on chopping block

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Unfinished houses for people displaced by a hydropower dam in Quang Ngai during the monsoon last September. Their construction has been delayed by two years.

Industry authorities in the central province of Quang Ngai Wednesday called on the provincial and central governments to cancel eight proposed hydropower projects saying their disadvantages far outweigh benefits.

The Department of Industry and Trade wanted the province to scrap six of them and the central government to remove two major ones from the approved list.

It said the projects, work on which is yet to start, would add little to the country's power supply but cause a lot of damage to the environment.

The local and central governments have approved 23 hydropower projects in the province, but only three are operating and two others are being built.

Once all the projects are finished 890 hectares of forests, including primary forests, are likely to be destroyed.

Neighboring Quang Nam Province, which had planned to build 44 hydropower plants, recently suspended work on 17 and canceled two others, stating that losses outweighed gains. Seven plants are already in operation and eight are under construction.

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Officials said the dams caused loss of forests and cultivable lands and disrupted the ecosystem. Rivers were dying, and there was water shortage during the dry season and flooding in downstream areas during the rainy season, they said.

Besides, people displaced by dams have not been relocated with proper homes or facilities.

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