Over 900 households in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue have been unemployed for ten years since they were relocated to make way for the construction of hydroelectricity plants.
In 2003-04, farmers in Duong Hoa Commune of Huong Thuy Town were promised compensation in the form of new homes in resettlement areas.
It was said that each household would also be compensated with at least one hectare of farming and forest land for cultivation.
Since they agreed to move to the resettlement areas in Binh Thanh Commune of Huong Tra Town, and Xuan Loc and Loc Bon Communes in Phu Loc District, they have not been granted new land to cultivate as promised.
Pham Van Loc, a farmer, said he previously had two hectares of farming land, enough to support his entire family.
At present, he is unemployed and unable to afford his family. His children have to earn their living by peeling bark from trees for local farm owners.
In the resettlement areas, farmers are so poor that they cannot even afford to connect with the electricity grid for home use.
Many people have left their resettlement areas for southern provinces to find jobs.
The number of children dropping out of school in these resettlement areas has also increased year by year.
Hoang Ngoc Khanh, head of the office of the People’s Committee of Thua Thien-Hue, admitted local authorities had promised to grant them farming land and resettlement.
However the promises have not been kept because the province has no more land bank, Khanh added.
Proposals have been made to revoke forest land from state-owned farms to allocate to individual farmers but it has yet to be approved.
Khanh revealed that authorities will compensate displaced farmers with money, not land, and “It is hoped that the cash compensation will come to the farmers within this year.”