Cambodian Youth Party (CYP) president Pich Sros on Tuesday raised four issues faced by residents of Kampong Speu and Takeo provinces regarding dam constructions and submitted his report to the Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology Lim Kean Hor.
Sros told The Post that the minister had received the report at a meeting on Monday with the Supreme Council for Consultation and Recommendations.
“I submitted four cases and three questions, and he [Kean Hor] received all of them. He [needs to review] the cases point by point and address them immediately,” he said.
The first case involves the reportedly negative impact of dam construction on the residents of Takeo.
They had complained about being accused by the ministry of living in the vicinity of the construction site.
In turn, the residents accused the ministry of using its name to grab their land. They also complained about road problems in their area.
Sros stressed that the 58 families and the commune authorities in Takeo’s Kraing Leav commune in Bati district were looking forward to a resolution by the district authorities so that a private company can help construct a road and restore a foul-smelling canal affecting the residents of the area.
He also noted the irregularities in the statements of the sub-national administrations, saying that the residents were told by the district administration that the ministry had refused to construct a road and restore the canal.
However, during the meeting, the minister himself clarified that his ministry had no office in the district.
The second case involves about 70 families who grow crops on some 70ha in two villages of Takeo’s Prey Sloek commune in Traing district.
Sros said the farmlands had not been allowed to be registered since 2016, and thus hindered the processing and issuance of land titles.
A provincial administration official claimed the land belonged to the state, and that the ministry’s dam would be constructed there. However, Sros said the families had lived on the land since 1979 after the fall of Pol Pot’s regime and had never been flooded.
The third case highlights complaints about a dam from 30 families of Kampong Speu’s Treng Trayeong commune, Phnom Sruoch district.
The residents there claim dam waters had flooded their crops and houses. But provincial authorities said the dam had been left unmanaged since the Sangkum Reastr Niyum regime.
The last case involves accusations against people with oknha titles who had allegedly used the ministry’s name to seize land from eight families in Kampong Speu’s Pheakdei commune in Baset district.
In addition, they had sued the residents for occupying state land set for dam construction.
Sros said he would go to the area to investigate and gather more information on Friday.
“I have gathered all of the information. But there is one more thing – in Baset district some individuals are said to have used the ministry’s name to pressure residents and [even] filed a complaint against them,” he said.
In response, Kampong Speu provincial governor Vei Samnang said that Sros’ words were neither reasonable nor responsible.
He said: “We work in the interests of the residents in the area. But a small number of people went to encroach on the dam construction site. We have solved the case gradually and did a land swap with them so that they can go to other places that are not flooded.”
Samnang said the dam construction had been carried out after considering the common interests of the people, which is to have water to grow crops.
At the same time, he stressed that he had never received information about people using their power to seize land from families in Pheakdei commune.