Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Farmers protest loss of dam

Farmers protest loss of dam

Farmers protest loss of dam

MORE than 500 people from Kampong Thom province’s Santuk district on Tuesday protested the dismantling of a Khmer Rouge-era irrigation project that they say has led to the flooding of their farmland.

Villagers say the dam, when it functioned, had been used to flush water in and out of farmland belonging to residents of Santuk’s Boeung Lvea, Ti Pou, Kraya and Kampong Thma communes. Government officials dismantled it last year to build a reservoir.

“My land has been totally flooded – I can’t plant rice anymore,” said Khaul Choeun, who claimed to own 2 hectares of flooded land.

In a meeting at Santuk’s Boeung Lvea pagoda, Santuk district governor Pich Sophea told villagers that the government would not be paying compensation to families affected by the flooding because they had planted their rice on state land.

“This is the government’s project to renovate the irrigation system,” Pich Sothea said, adding that the newly built reservoir provided water for residents of five communes in Santuk.

The villagers, he added, understood that they had no right to plant rice on state land but had been incited to protest for compensation by the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP).

“We have prohibited them from planting crops there, so when their crops are flooded over, we are not responsible,” he said. “We have prohibited them again and again – they know already.”

Men Sothavarin, an SRP lawmaker from Kampong Thom, denied that the SRP had incited the protest.

MOST VIEWED

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Prime Minister: Take back islands from inactive developers

    The government will “take back” land on roughly 30 islands from private companies that have not made progress on planned developments, Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a speech on Monday that also targeted land-grabbing villagers and idle provincial governors. Speaking at the inauguration of the

  • Land on capital’s riverfront is opened up for investment

    The government has signed off on a proposal to designate more than 9 hectares of land along Phnom Penh’s riverfront as state-private land, opening it up for private investment or long-term leasing. The 9.25-hectare stretch of riverfront from the capital’s Night Market to the