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EFE: Nicaragua launches public consultation on Interoceanic Canal studies 2015-9-26 11:37

Managua, Sep 24 (EFE) .- Nicaragua launched today the first public consultation on the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the interoceanic canal project, the construction of which will affect 27,000 people from 6,800 households, according to the Chinese concessionaire HKND Group.

The consultation meeting is organized by the Nicaragua Grand Canal Commission and the Chinese concessionaire of the waterway, HKND Group.

Entrepreneurs, representatives of labor unions and state institutions, university authorities and students, leaders of environmental NGOs, among others, participated in the event.

"It is one of the conclusive steps to proceed with the approval of the presented studies", explained today the coordinator of the Communication and Citizenship Council, Rosario Murillo, who also said that a question and answer session will be held during the meeting for the specialized audience.

"We have to emphasize the seriousness and responsibility, with which the different stages of the project are being developed in order to start (...) the construction of the works of the Grand Canal in the reasonable established period of time ", said Murillo.

The ESIA was carried out by the British firm Environmental Resource Management (ERM) and submitted to the Commission on May 31, after two years of work.

The Executive Vice President of the company, Pang Kwok Wai, assured that among all the population affected by the construction of the canal, only 25 households are families of indigenous communities.

The Nicaragua Canal project is 276 kilometers long, 230 to 520 meters wide and 30 meters deep, which is three times larger than the canal operating in Panama.

The work would divide the country in two and cross the Lake Nicaragua.

It includes several sub-projects, such as an airport, two ports, an artificial lake, two locks, a free trade zone, several roads, several resorts, etc.

The project is estimated by the Chinese concessionaire at 50 billion and will require about 50,000 workers.