Authorities will begin inspecting the land of families in Stung Treng province as early as next week as preparations to construct the $781 million Lower Sesan 2 hydropower dam – which will result in about 5,000 people being relocated – move forward, a commune chief said yesterday.
“I had a meeting with the provincial authority and the Chinese company building the dam on Tuesday,” said Seak Mekong, Kre Kor commune chief in Sesan district.
“They told me they will begin studying the area in February to see who will be relocated. When they have finished [and people have been relocated], the dam will be built.”
Cambodia’s Royal Group, in partnership with Chinese company Hydrolancang International Energy, announced last November that they will build the 400-megawatt dam over five years at the confluence of the Sesan and Srepok rivers.
Mekong’s comments came as villagers and representatives of the NGO Forum on Cambodia told a conference yesterday that families in Stung Treng and Ratanakkiri provinces had been given little, if any, official information about the dam.
“There’s been no consultation from the government,” said Chea Sarom, the NGO Forum’s research information centre manager, at the launch of his organisation’s study into the livelihoods of 315 families, many of them indigenous, who face relocation or threats to their farming and fishing.
“People do not want to move,” Sarom said. “It takes time to construct houses, grow fruit trees and to develop a village.”
None of the nine communities affected by the dam have been given enough information on its impact, the report says.
Meach Mean, coordinator of the 3S Rivers Protection Network, said the dam’s Environmental Impact Assessment, conducted in 2009, had focused only on the construction area, “yet the government assumes this is a comprehensive report.”
Kith Meng, chairman of Royal Group, could not be reached for comment, while Ministry of Environment under secretary of state Thuk Kroeun Vutha said technicians were “evaluating the effects of the dam on villagers before the government develops anything”.
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