Officials in Ratanakkiri province said Friday that government officials in Vietnam’s Gia Lai province have offered $1 million to build a school in O’Yadaw district’s Se San commune and a market at the border.
The offer comes at a time when a Vietnamese company called Gia Lai Co Ltd is seeking to establish a rubber plantation in the district and villagers living near the Se San River have petitioned Prime Minister Hun Sen about flooding caused by Vietnamese dams.
“In Ratanakkiri, we lack schools,” provincial Governor Kham Khoeun said Friday. “Only hill tribe children living in remote areas will be allowed to go to the school.”
Se San commune currently has a primary school offering grades 1 through 4, and the new six-room school will offer grades 4 through 9.
“Both parties are now drawing up plans, aiming to make an agreement on when exactly construction could begin,” Kham Khoeun said.
Deputy provincial Governor Bou Lam said that the school will be built about 80 km from Banlung town and that three rooms will be finished by December.
He also said the government is planning roads and markets to better integrate Ratanakkiri and Gia Lia provinces.
“The market is a government plan,” he said. “If we have one at the border, our people will not need to transport goods to Kompong Cham [province] to get to Vietnam.”
Vietnamese Embassy spokesman Nguyen Thanh Duc said that he had no information about the proposed donation.
Last week, Som Thom commune Chief Puoy Loy said that Gia Lai Co, which is seeking a 9,000-hectare concession in O’Yadaw district, had given local officials a car as a gift. Late last week, local officials were to meet with Gia Lai provincial officials about the land concession, Puoy Loy said. It is unclear whether Gia Lai Co is a state-owned company.
Also last week, Ratanakkiri villagers sent a letter of protest to the government claiming that damages from flooding were due to Vietnam’s Se Sam dam.
(Additional reporting by Erik Wasson)