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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Protesters successful; water prices decrease

Protesters successful; water prices decrease

Authorities in Prey Veng province yesterday agreed to cut the price of water from 1,800 riel to 1,200 riel  a cubic metre after more than 1,000 people blocked National Road 11 for the fourth consecutive day.

Acting provincial police chief Dim Yarum said yesterday an urgent meeting, involving the director of the provincial council, police, a village representative and representatives of the industry, mining and energy ministry and the environment ministry had been called to resolve the issue.

The long meeting, held at the office of the Cambodian People’s Party in Baray commune, had ultimately ended in success, Dim Yarum said.

As the private water company had not yet accepted the villagers’ proposal, authorities had decided to re-open the state water system, he said.

The supply of fresh water had been outsourced to the Touch Kim Water Supply Company after provincial governor Ung Samy signed a letter last month shutting down the state water system without the villagers’ consent, a protester told the Post.

“The majority of the villagers reached an agreement to end striking after their proposal resulted in victory, but other villagers still kept striking in order to demand the reduction of the electricity price to 800 riel, which is different from the demanded proposal,” he said.

Protester Touch Vina, 49, said the authorities had not translated the results of the negotiations into written documents, and some villagers had continued to strike because of a lack of clarity.  

Another villager, Kai Srey­neang, said a man and two women had fainted yesterday after spending the previous night blocking the road, but had returned home after being treated in hospital.

Dem Dorn, provincial co-ordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said the protesters were not prompted by politics but by the villagers’ poverty.

Dem Dorn said that some provincial officials had joined the strikes and others had supported the protesters by giving them money to buy water and food.



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