Salt-field infrastructure in waste

Billions of dong that were once invested in the salt fields in Dien Hai Commune of Dong Hai District in the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu, like water pumps, irrigation canals and roads  are now in a state of complete neglect.

A rusted pump in the salt fields of Bac Lieu Province (Photo: SGGP)

Tens of households were displaced from an area where farmers stockpiled salt, so that a road could be made. The now incomplete road runs along the Ong Cang canal.

Nguyen Truong Han, head of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Dong Hai District said that the 2.5km road should have been complete a long time ago.

The construction units have pledged to return the land back to farmers after the road was complete. However, all those concerned have since disappeared, leaving tar drums scattered in the area for the last several years.

The farmers lament they have no place to stockpile their harvested salt.

Besides the incomplete road, there are three water pumping stations lying abandoned on the fields and have now rusted, even though they have not been in use even for a single day.

Salt makers say they do not understand why engineers installed the pumping stations at the end of the water source as normally canal-waters deplete after two to three years and need dredging.

According to the People’s Committee in Dong Hai District, the three pumping stations built at the end of 2008, could not work without water access.

Similarly, 1.4km irrigation canals were built to lead water to the fields but they have failed to do so, as they are located too far from the water source.

To deal with this issue, leaders in the district have proposed to dredge the canals and water inlets.

By Binh Dai – Translated by Van Chau

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