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Sesan holdouts will not be given public services

Homes in Stung Treng’s Srekor village are submerged in water. Authorities have said villagers who refused to go to government resettlement sites will not receive public facilities like schools and clinics. Fut Kheoun
Homes in Stung Treng’s Srekor village are submerged in water. Authorities have said villagers who refused to go to government resettlement sites will not receive public facilities like schools and clinics. Fut Kheoun

Sesan holdouts will not be given public services

Stung Treng province officials have announced they will not build public facilities for those villagers who refused to relocate to the government’s resettlement site when their villages were flooded late last year by the reservoir of the controversial Lower Sesan II Dam.

Nou Sovannara, director of the provincial Department of Mines and Energy, who attended a meeting on the resettlement on Thursday, said officials will, however, grant the 83 households – from Srekor and Kbal Romeas villages – the forest land they have cleared at the relocation site of their preference.

“The land they could grab will be given to them,” he said, adding that the homes the company built for them at the government’s relocation site, along with 5 hectares of land, will also be granted to them.

“They were afraid that the land, which they cleared to live on, wouldn’t be granted to them,” he said.

Read more: Sesan dam to bring power, pain

But authorities will not provide facilities such as schools and health centres at the relocation site where the villagers chose to settle, Sovannara said.

“We’ll continue to find a strategy to solve the problem for them,” Sovannara said. “But their request to create a new village and infrastructure is impossible.”

Authorities said they will continue to meet with individual families in an effort to get them to accept the compensation.

However, Fut Kheoun, a Srekor community representative, said since the dam began to operate, officials have not paid them a visit.

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