Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Relocation site has villagers worried

Relocation site has villagers worried

Relocation site has villagers worried

Villagers facing relocation from the site of the planned Lower Sesan 2 dam in Stung Treng province were told last week that they would be moved 15 kilometres from the river they rely on for fishing, a commune chief said yesterday.

Seak Mekong, commune chief in Sesan district’s Srekor commune, said villagers had suspected they would be moved to the proposed relocation site, in Sdao commune, but had their suspicions confirmed in a meeting he attended with officials from the ministries of agriculture and energy.

“The authorities have found a new village on the other side of the river,” he said, adding that officials were still inspecting the site.

“It’s far away – 15 kilometres – from the [Sesan] river.”

Mekong said five villagers had been invited to inspect the site in mid-January – being told it was a possible relocation site for 445 families within the planned reservoir’s 33,000-hectare zone – and had found it lacking in arable land, basic infrastructure and fishing opportunities.

“They’re worried about the new location,” Mekong said, echoing concerns raised by villagers at a forum on the dam in the capital last month.

“What about the fruit trees?” cried one villager at that forum.

“It takes a lot of time for us to grow more at our new sites.”

NGO Forum on Cambodia research suggests the majority of families in Sesan district and surrounding areas rely on agriculture for their primary income; however, some villagers have said their reliance on fishing has been underestimated.

Cambodia’s Royal Group and Chinese company Hydrolancang International Energy announced in November they would build the $781 million, 400-megawatt dam where the Sesan and Srepok rivers meet.

Electricity Vietnam International reportedly withdrew from the project after at one stage holding a 51 per cent stake.

Royal Group and government officials visited Mekong’s commune last week, asking him to sign forms letting them clear area inside the reservoir zone.

“I had to sign this, because they have already agreed... to develop it,” he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sen David at [email protected]
Shane Worrell at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Endangered animals found dead in Pailin

    An endangered gaur was one of “many” wild animals found dead in “dozens” of illegal traps in Pailin province’s Phnom Khieu Wildlife Sanctuary, said Chit Thy, a military officer working with rangers to protect the conservation area, on Wednesday. Thy, an officer in the 507