On March 3, 2006, Kim Jong Il visited the Samsu Power Station under construction.
Standing on the dam he looked down at the construction site. After a good while he asked an official, pointing at a place, “Is that area to be submerged?”
The official answered in the affirmative. Again he asked how many households should be evacuated.
“A few thousand,” replied the official.
“How are you dealing with them?”
A senior official of the provincial Party committee said that 30% of them evacuated the area and they were sharing abode with others nearby.
“What?” bellowed Kim Jong Il.
He reproved the official, saying that the residents in the area should not be dealt with in that way and new houses should have been built for them.
Noting that evacuation of the affected people was an important matter, he pointed out that he visited the site to inquire into this matter because there was no document on the relocation of dwelling houses, among the many which were filed to him concerning the construction of the Samsu Power Station.
After a pause, he stressed that coaxing the residents would not be enough and this matter should be solved in a practical way.
Then he recounted: The people in Ryanggang Province were the poorest during the rule of Japanese imperialism. But their revolutionary sense was strong. Many of them crossed the Amnok River to take part in the anti-Japanese struggle. To solve the problem of their living is of primary importance. You should discuss the matter concerning the relocation of dwelling houses in the area to be submerged, at an enlarged meeting of the executive committee of the provincial Party committee. As this is an important matter, you should hold a joint meeting with the Party Central Committee. Before evacuating the residents, new houses should be built for them, which are far better than the old ones.
The matter still weighed on him.
He estimated that as the affected households numbered a few thousand and each might have no less than three, the total number of the residents was very large. Officials should keep in mind that the people are more precious than tens of thousands of kW of electricity, he emphasized.
Before leaving the construction site, he reiterated that they should push ahead with the construction of the power station in parallel with the housing project for the affected residents.