Sunday February 17, 2013
CM promises to resolve Bengoh dam compensation issues in two years
By NIGEL EDGAR
KOTA PADAWAN: Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud aims to resolve the compensation issues of villagers displaced by the Bengoh dam, within two or three years.
He was responding to requests by some affected villagers whose farmlands were not only submerged but not accessible due to the dam.
“I (state government) will think of a way to buy these isolated lands to be developed, and compensation would be paid to landowners within one or two years,” Taib said.
Speaking yesterday during a working visit to the Bengoh Resettlement Scheme (BRS) site here, which is about an hour’s drive from Kuching, the chief minister added that more than 200 families from villages affected by the dam would be able to stay in their new homes once the scheme was completed, which could be by the middle of this year.
He said each RM20,000 house would have half of the cost subsidised by the state government, which had spent some RM300mil for the resettlement scheme.
“We (state government) want to bring you closer to progress so that you would not be left out from development programmes being carried out by the state government.
“We want to ensure that after resettling you here, you would have better livelihood. If possible, we will give more,” Taib told thousands of villagers.
He said after upon the completion of the BRS, villagers would have access to electricity and treated water as well as better road connectivity.
Taib added that the new 70km road costing about RM70mil that would connect the resettlement scheme to Bau, cutting travelling time by half.
“I hope with everything in place and closer to each other, the Bidayuhs would be more united and continue to support the Government so that it would continue to bring more development closer to you,” he said.
Earlier, Mambong MP Datuk James Dawos said the Bengoh dam was critical not only for hydroelectricity generation but also for the supply of treated water to areas in Kuching, Samarahan and Padawan.
He said the Opposition had been complaining that the people in some areas were living without treated water but at the same time, object to the construction of the dam.
“They (Opposition) are just blaming the Government here and there without proper facts.
“We need a new source of water supply so that we can provide treated water to more areas, and at the same time these areas will expand and develop,” said Dawos.
He advised the people not to fall for the opposition’s tricks aiming only at fishing for votes, which in the end would not benefit the masses.
Dawos also conveyed to Taib that some 285ha of land in the resettlement scheme was not enough for agricultural activities for the villagers.
On this, he said the villagers would settle for it if the Government could provide better access to their farms.
“As long as there is a good road going into their farms, the people will accept,” said Dawos.
He said with the completion of the BRS, it would open up more socioeconomic opportunities for the people through tourism and various economic activities.