Sesan dam holdouts from Kbal Romeas and Srekor villages have gone on the offensive, demanding compensation for destroyed rice fields and new homes on their ancestral land.
Both villages were flooded following the inauguration of the China-backed Lower Sesan II Dam in September. While some accepted relocation packages, many refused to leave their ancestral homes, simply moving to the outskirts of town when the villages flooded.
In Kbal Romeas, villagers demanded compensation for their flooded rice fields at $3,000 per hectare, totalling $531,000, and official registration of a community forest.
Yun Lorang, coordinator for the Cambodia Indigenous People’s Association, attended the meeting on Tuesday. Lorang said the villagers estimated 177 hectares of rice fields had been flooded. They also requested whatever remains of the 8,000-hectare forest be officially registered as a community forest.
“The community’s [first] priority is to register the collective forest, while the reparation is the next priority,” Lorang said.
Fut Khoeun, a community representative for Srekor village, said 75 families met with the deputy provincial governor on Monday last week, and requested that authorities build them new houses on their ancestral land.
Deputy Governor Duong Pov denied the request, saying authorities already built them new houses at the government relocation site.
“We already built for them [at relocation site], so to go or not is their own choice. But we have a land solution for them, and will not build new homes,” Pov said in an interview on Thursday.