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

  • Kingdom’s domestic milk still cannot compete with imports

    Price competition and a lack of confidence by consumers are the main reasons the dairy market cannot compete with imports, said domestic milk producers. The large displays of imported fresh milk at the Kingdom’s supermarkets present a cumbersome obstacle for local producers, they said.

  • ‘Pesticide-laden cucumbers’ kill two, poison 150 in Banteay Meanchey

    At least two youths have died and 243 others are being treated for vomiting, diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, dizziness and muscle weakness after they ate cucumbers suspected to consist of pesticides. The incident happened on Saturday, said Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief Ath Khem. He told The

  • Three dead, 13 injured in collapse at Siem Reap pagoda

    At least three people were killed and more than 10 others injured on Monday after a dining hall under construction collapsed at Prasat Kokchak pagoda in Kokchak commune, Siem Reap province. Provincial police chief Tith Narong said Military Police, soldiers and local volunteers had successfully recovered 16

  • Forest Harmony’s $18M luxury villas break ground in Kampot

    Local and French joint-venture Forest Harmony has broken ground on its $18 million “second-home” Luxury Holiday Villas project in Kampot province. Century 21 Mekong CEO and local shareholder of the project Chrek Soknim told The Post that the project will comprise 90 villa units covering 18ha on a 97

  • China Unicom enters Cambodia

    China Unicom, the country’s largest telecoms operator, has expanded into Cambodia to build optical telecommunication pathways in the Kingdom as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Hong Kong-listed company officially opened its China Unicom (Cambodia) subsidiary on Monday to become the

  • PP-SHV Expressway on track for completion in early 2023

    The construction of the $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway, which broke ground at the end of March, is on track to be completed by early 2023, Ministry of Public Works and Transport spokesman Vasim Sorya said on Monday. The 190km high-speed highway linking the capital to the