Protesters at Vietnam hydropower plant demand compensation for damaging houses

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People in Ninh Thuan Province gather at Ha Song Pha 1 hydropower plant to demand compensation for the damage its construction caused to their houses

More than 50 people held a protest at a hydropower plant in the south central province of Ninh Thuan Wednesday to demand payment of compensation it had promised for damaging their houses or its closure.

Ha Song Pha 1 plant, situated in a residential area with around 2,000 families, has endangered houses and lives with explosives since its construction started in May 2011.

Locals have sent many complaints and local authorities have identified more than 52 houses damaged in the explosions, causing the builder, Ha Song Pha company, to promise compensation.

The plant started operating in November 2013 and the province in December ordered the company to examine the damage to the houses and recompense the affected people.

But residents said the company's compensation offers were arbitrary and not based on proper calculations.

Dang Thi Kim Anh, a local whose new house has developed cracks and saw its toilet collapse, said she was offered VND20 million (US$949), but she rejected it and the company raised it first to VND30 million and then to VND50 million.

Vo Thi Thu Huong, another local, said some people from the company had visited several houses including hers and offered to pay VND4 million besides a VND2 million New Year gift, and another VND2 million as an apology.

Huong said many people did not buy into the apparent acts of goodwill and want the company to pay them a fair compensation.

Local authorities have beefed up security at the plant after failing to persuade the protesters to leave.

Thanh Nien has been unable to contact the company.

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