Agriculture Ministry opposes hydropower project as fight to protect Yok Don Park continues

Last update: 09:28 | 01/06/2016

VietNamNet Bridge - The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has officially voiced its opposition to the Drang Phok hydropower project in the Yok Don National Park.


The Dak Lak provincial People’s Committee has not made a final decision.

MARD, in a document to the Prime Minister, proposed stopping the implementation of the project, which would lead to the disappearance of large forests and affect biodiversity in the Yok Don National Park.

TECCO, the investor, plans to build a 26 MW Drang Phok on Srepok River in Buon Don district of Dak Lak province with total investment capital of VND850 billion.

According to MARD, about 63 hectares of forestland would be used for hydropower project implementation, of which 53 hectares of forests would no longer exist, and the other 10 hectares would be used temporarily to serve plant construction.

These are all natural forests, including three hectares of rich forests, 11 hectares of medium-level and 49 hectares of poor forests. 

These are all natural forests, including three hectares of rich forests, 11 hectares of medium-level and 49 hectares of poor forests. 

However, the forest devastation will not be the only thing people have to pay for the hydropower plant. Scientists have warned that construction and plant operation will badly affect the habitat of the wildlife, and that tigers and elephants will leave for other places. 

Meanwhile, the construction of the dam and the current blocking will affect the ecosystem, especially aquatic creatures. 

MARD also warned that the water level rise in Drang Phok Reservoir will give a hand to illegal logging and trading.

General Director of General Directorate of Forestry Ha Cong Tuan said the forests in the Central Highlands have been declining.  In the last five years, the forest coverage has decreased by 6.1 percent. 

Meanwhile, climate change has caused extreme weather with drought becoming more serious, thus affecting people’s lives and socio-economic development in the Central Highlands.

Tran The Lien, a senior official of MARD, emphasized that MARD not only disagrees on the construction of Drang Phok in Yok Don National Park, and the other two plants Suoi Say 1 and Suoi Say 2 in Kon Chu Rang Natural Reserve in Gia Lai province, but it believes that it would be better not to build any hydropower plants in national parks and natural reserves throughout the country.

Deputy chair of the Dak Lak provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Tuan Ha on May 27 told the press the local authorities had not made a final decision on the development of the Drang Phok hydropower plant.

The struggle to protect Yok Don is very violent.  Tran Van Thanh, who was acting director of the Yok Don National Park two years ago, then stated that he would resign if the hydropower project is implemented.


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