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Homes built for resettlement of villagers affected by the Lower Sesan II dam.
Homes built for resettlement of villagers affected by the Lower Sesan II dam. Photo supplied

Dam contractors owe workers

A group of construction workers are appealing to local authorities for help after allegedly being shorted thousands of dollars in pay for building new homes for villagers displaced by the Lower Sesan II dam.

According to Srekor Commune Chief Siek Mekong, the men filed the complaint several weeks ago, alleging that three contractors hired by the company building the dam had not paid them wages for five to six months.

At least 21 construction workers say they are owed money for their work at the resettlement site for Srekor village in Stung Treng province, according to Mekong. Along with Kbal Romeas village, Srekor lies in what will soon be a reservoir created by the dam. Residents from both villages have been offered plots in resettlement sites nearby.

“The contractors owe some of them $50, some $250 and some up to $500,” Mekong said, adding that the contractors seem to have fled.

“We do not know where they are now,” he said.

Hydro Power Lower Sesan 2 Co Ltd representative Chhay Meng said the company has been reaching out to the contractors and that one is on his way back to Stung Treng province, while another is sick.

A company employee in charge of contracting, who only gave his family name, “Lay”, confirmed that the company is looking for the contractors.

The 400-megawatt dam is expected to go online next month.Stung Treng provincial Deputy Governor Chea Thavarith said he has advised the company to solve the problem.

“If we do not solve it, it would be a sin. They are all poor people,” Thavarith said.

A previous version of this article described Siek Mekong as the former Srekor Commune Chief. He is actually a former Srekor Commune Chief for the Sam Rainsy Party but the current Commune Chief for the Cambodia National Rescue Party. The Post apologises for the error.
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