Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mixed signals on Areng dam



Mixed signals on Areng dam

Chinese engineers prepare to conduct a feasibility study in Koh Kong province for the proposed Areng Valley dam project in 2012
Chinese engineers prepare to conduct a feasibility study in Koh Kong province for the proposed Areng Valley dam project in 2012. INTERNATIONAL RIVERS

Mixed signals on Areng dam

Officials lately have been talking up the proposed Stung Cheay Areng hydropower dam, seemingly ignoring Prime Minister Hun Sen’s pledge not to proceed with the project under this government, a senior opposition parliamentarian said yesterday.

The comments came after Ay Khan, ruling Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker for Koh Kong province, led an armed delegation to the Areng Valley over the weekend, where he sought to publicise the purported benefits of the dam.

“I think it’s quite strange after Hun Sen clearly announced many times that there would be no action on the dam until 2018,” Son Chhay, a Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker for Phnom Penh, said yesterday. “But we heard various CPP members saying otherwise.”

The head of Electricite du Cambodge “was saying the Areng Dam would benefit the country a lot”.

“Who is leading this government? I’m not sure Hun Sen is leading anymore, because it seems some people are not respecting his policy.… I’m not quite sure what Mr Ay Khan was doing in that area. Normally, the MPs have a very limited role in doing anything like that. He is doing something against the prime minister’s policy.”

Khan visited villagers in the Areng Valley in Koh Kong on Saturday, escorted by about 40 security officials. The CPP lawmaker could not be reached yesterday.

Chhay said he had it on good authority that the capacity to make use of electricity that would be generated by the dam was not in place.

“By allowing the dam to be built, this will mean that they have to buy electricity they can’t use,” he said.

“So that could be a big waste of money from the budget, so the government is trying to stall for time,” he added. “But the Chinese, because they have bribed the government with a lot of money to get the dam built, they are going around the prime minister to try to get the dam approved.”

A spokesman for Sinohydro declined to comment.

Hun Sen in a speech last month following the deportation of prominent Spanish environmentalist Alex Gonzalez-Davidson said that the area should be developed into an eco-tourism site.

Sinohydro Resources, a holding company for Sinohydro Group, was granted approval in February last year for six months of studies at the dam site. It has thus far been unable to complete the necessary impact assessments.

Sinohydro took over the concession from another Chinese firm early last year.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia resumes issuance of tourist visas

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced the resumption of its tourist visa and visa exemption programme after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter dated October 20 and addressed to foreign embassies and consulates, foreign minister Prak Sokhonn

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the