Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Dam firm hasn’t made good on pledge: locals



Dam firm hasn’t made good on pledge: locals

Dam firm hasn’t made good on pledge: locals

Some 100 people from five villages in Oddar Meanchey’s Chongkal district protested over the weekend against a hydropower dam project built by Chinese firm Sinohydro, claiming they have yet to be compensated for their eventual displacement when the flood gates close in the next few weeks.

Designed to store water for agricultural use for Oddar Meanchey, Banteay Meanchey and Siem Reap and under construction for the past two years, Sinohydro plans to close the flood gates within 15 days, according to villagers and rights group Adhoc.

“The company will close its gate and we will be flooded. They promised to give us compensation, but they have not until now, so we’re protesting to stop them,” said one protester who declined to be named.

“Our Srah Keo village with 158 families will be flooded and relocated, and until now we’ve gotten nothing,” he said, adding that his home and 20 hectares of rice fields will be flooded. The protester is asking for $8,500 per hectare in compensation.

The demonstrations took a pause yesterday morning after officials from the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology promised to meet with protesters to find a solution today.

What’s more, some 3,000 hectares of the Rokha Vorn community forest – an endangered-species habitat – as well as five ancient temples will also be flooded, according to the community forest chief, the Venerable Bun Saluth, who was awarded the United Nations Equator Prize in 2010.

“The dam will destroy my forest, animals and ancient temples. We’re demanding some acceptable compensation for the community who is taking care of the forest,” he said.

Srey Naren, provincial coordinator for Adhoc, noted that villagers have protested several times since the construction began in 2014, but the problem remained unsolved.

“The authorities just promised to and did not solve the dispute for villagers, while the company keeps constructing. Five villages with hundreds of families are affected,” Naren said.

Villager Khiev Pich was arrested and detained in prison for more than two months for protesting against the company in 2015, Naren said, adding that Pich was released after Adhoc’s intervention.

Bou Sakhorn, deputy provincial governor, who saw the protests, said that Sinohydro has been clearing 50-by-100-metre land plots for families to relocate to, although the preparation is not complete. “Villagers just want it now. It is difficult.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Phnom Penh underpass opens to ease traffic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a temporary opening of the 488m underpass at the Chaom Chao roundabout in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, which was recently completed to connect traffic from National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd. The move is to reduce