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Sesan villagers reject offer, call for studies

Villagers inspect a diagram of the Lower Sesan 2 dam yesterday in Stung Treng during a community forum.
Villagers inspect a diagram of the Lower Sesan 2 dam yesterday in Stung Treng during a community forum. Heng Chivoan

Sesan villagers reject offer, call for studies

Villagers in Stung Treng province have rejected a new compensation offer from the firm building the divisive Lower Sesan 2 hydropower dam.

Dozens of residents of Srekor village yesterday told a public forum attended by representatives of the Hydro Power Lower Sesan 2 Company (HPLS2) and government officials that they would not accept land and additional benefits, and called on the government to suspend the dam’s construction.

“I can live naturally on my own, so please drop this development plan,” said villager Sarom Thun.

Other villagers said a suspension of construction would allow time for an independent study of the dam’s effects.

Ham Oudom, a development analyst who is currently conducting a study of the project, said: “The company should take measures to investigate the problems in order to target and solve the environmental and social impacts in a transparent and accountable manner.”

Kao Vang Iv, a representative of HPLS2, which is a joint venture between Cambodia’s Royal Group and China’s Hydrolancang International, sought to reassure the villagers.

“Please don’t worry about it, because we’ve already conducted thorough studies,” he said.

Advocacy groups, however, say that no proper impact assessments were carried out, while numerous independent studies have predicted severe detrimental impacts across the Lower Mekong River Basin.

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