Offering the low bidding prices, the Chinese contractor won the bid to undertake the Nong Son thermopower plant project in Quang Nam province.

The agriculture land fund has been narrowed, the agriculture production has decreased, the transport system has been broken off – all these are the things the Chinese contractor has created on the construction site so far.

Half-done power project kills agriculture production

When starting the project execution, CMCH – the Chinese contractor - promised that the construction work would be completed soon so that the plant would become operational in 2010.

However, in fact, the execution had been going very slowly until it completely stopped operation some months ago.

Nguyen Van Nam, a farmer, who has been cultivating on the field next to the coal mining site, complained that the waste water leaking from the coal mine has caused serious pollution to the environment, thus making rice and farm produce unable to grow.

Nguyen Kim Dung, Chair of the Que Trung Commune People’s Committee, has affirmed that Nong Son hamlet has most suffered from the coal mine and the construction plant. Previously, there were 30 hectares of land in the hamlet, while 50 percent of the land has been filled up by the coal.

The environment pollution caused by the coal exploitation has led to bad crops and low productivity. In the past, local residents could harvest six tons of rice and farm produce a crop, while they now can get 3.5-3.7 tons.

As a result, people have given up farming. They dare not pour money into the cultivation because they fear they would waste the money if the land gets worse and cannot bring the productivity high enough.

The bidding prices offered by Chinese contractors are really low ?

T, a security guard of the power plant, told reporters that Chinese workers on the construction site left for home some months ago, while only four of them have been staying in Vietnam.

“Materials and equipment have all broken down. There’s nothing valuable here for us to protect,” T said.

The construction site, which was very noisy one year ago, has turned quiet. The road to the factory has been used as the place to dry rice.

“Though equipment and materials have broken down, the Chinese contractor still asks us to keep tight security. We will be heavily punished if we neglect our duty. I don’t know what the four Chinese workers are doing here,” he said.

According to Vo Dinh Dat, Deputy Director of the Nong Son Coal and Power Company, a subsidiary of the Vietnam Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacoal) – the investor of the project, only 55 percent of the project’s works have been fulfilled.

“At first, they (the Chinese contractor) brought 400 workers, but later the workers left one after another,” Dat said.

“The contractor simply informed that they were meeting some unfavorable conditions, including the regular floods and financial difficulties,” he added.

Sources have said that the two sides have sit to discuss the solution to the problem, while the Chinese contractor has promised to bring workers back to the site.

Especially, the contractor now intends to increase the bidding prices. And if so, the bidding prices offered by Chinese contractors are not always low as Vietnamese investors think.

By Tien Phong - VietNamNet Bridge - October 29, 2012