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Prensa Latina: Feasibility of the selected route for the Nicaragua Canal is ratified 2015-7-2 13:17

Managua, June 22 (Prensa Latina). Only Route 4, the selected route for the Canal, could meet the best practices and international standards to construct such a project, said Bill Wild, Project Advisor of HKND, the concessionaire of the waterway, in an interview released today.

As stated by Wild, thanks to the selected route, it is possible to protect the Indio Maiz Biological Reserve and cause less disruption to local communities due to the existence of less population, as well as less impact on the indigenous territory.

He clarified that there are about 300 families within the indigenous territory, of which only 25 belong to the Rama-Kriol ethnic group while the rest are settlers who have migrated to live in this area.

In total, from the Pacific to the Caribbean, less than seven thousand families will be affected, because of the census, which was used to investigate the area, had made some adjustment, so the number of affected families has reduced, said Wild in the dialogue published on the website of El Nuevo Diario.

In relation to the resettlement plan, he claimed that people will be able to choose between monetary compensation and new houses.

Those families opting for new houses, he added, can be confident that these houses will be better than the ones they are living in currently.

The ones choosing cash will receive monetary compensation at a fair market price for their properties and houses, but there will be no room for speculation, said the specialist, who also talked about some details of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment.

Regarding the reasons of the route adjustments, he said: "what we did was just listening to what people said, and taking their proposals into consideration".

He recalled that in the original design of the port in Brito (one of the two ports planned for the project and located in the Pacific), the canal began at the mouth of the homonymous river.

We moved the port towards inland to avoid the river mouth and a great part of the mangroves, and we also studied the reports of a workshop participated by many experts. They recommended us to move the starting point of the canal even further south, by around 300 meters, he said.

In the case of San Miguelito, he described in detail that they have avoided the wetlands area as much as possible and the township of El Tule. Now the route will no longer pass by that place.

San Miguelito Wetlands, Nicaragua
Photograph: Lisandro Roque / El Nuevo Diario (Nicaragua)

With regard to the Caribbean, the route of the interoceanic waterway was moved "northward, so as to affect as little as possible the mouth of the Punta Gorda River" and according to the advisor, perhaps in the latest design it will go through more adjustment.

The waterway, connecting the Atlantic and the Pacific has begun its construction last December and it will be 278 kilometers long, according to the official data.

Its total cost is valued at 50 billion dollars and its construction is expected to be completed within five years.


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