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Villagers refuse relocation

Villagers whose homes will be destroyed if the controversial Lower Sesan 2 Dam is built are to deliver today a letter to provincial authorities announcing that they refuse to be resettled.

Meach Mean, coordinator of the 3S Rivers Protection Network, said the villagers, who hail from various communes in Stung Treng province’s Sesan district, will deliver a letter this morning to Kol Samol, provincial governor and chairman of the Committee for Solving the Impacts of the Lower Sesan 2 Hydropower Dam Project.

“They would like to submit the letter because they don’t want to move and they are not happy with the project,” he explained.

According to a 2010 environmental impact assessment, the 400-megawatt dam will flood five villages and displace about 5,000 people.

Mean said the villagers want the government to reassess the project.

“They want the government to hold another study and … find another alternative to building the dam that means they’re not relocated.”

The dam is a joint venture between Cambodian tycoon Kith Meng’s Royal Group and Hydrolancang International, a subsidiary of the state-owned China Huaneng Group, which formed Hydropower Lower Sesan II Co Ltd in November 2012.

In February, the Post revealed that preliminary construction at the dam site began in November 2013, despite official denials.

Dam Samnang, a representative of villagers at the reservoir site, said 14 people would submit the letter today.

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