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Trees being cleared for Sesan dam

As many as 40 workers are cutting down trees, marking other trees they plan to fell in protected forest areas and piling up luxury timber in a flood-safety zone in Stung Treng’s Srekor commune, a local official said yesterday.

Commune chief Seak Mekong said the workers – from Kratie – had arrived on Sunday and were liberally cutting trees some distance from where the reservoir for the $781 million, 400-megawatt Lower Sesan 2 hydropower dam will be built. “On Sunday, the company sent 40 workers to cut the Thnuong trees in the Sesan II hydropower area under the premise of making way for a road and clearing pollution from the reservoir area,” he said.

Cambodia’s Royal Group, in partnership with Chinese company Hydrolancang International Energy, announced last November that they will build the dam over five years at the confluence of the Sesan and Srepok rivers, relocating about 5,000 families and affecting tens of thousands more.

Mekong said the workers were storing timber in a flood-safety zone reserved for villagers. “I don’t understand when they said they were cutting trees to clean the reservoir area to make the hydropower dam,” he said, adding that workers had also marked areas of a protected forest.

“The people in my commune are very concerned.”

Kith Meng, chairman of Royal Group, could not be reached.

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