Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Stage one of Sesan dam to be complete next year, PM reveals

Stage one of Sesan dam to be complete next year, PM reveals

A view of the Lower Sesan II hydropower dam construction site in Stung Treng province earlier this week, which is scheduled to start generating power by the end of 2017. Photo supplied
A view of the Lower Sesan II hydropower dam construction site in Stung Treng province earlier this week, which is scheduled to start generating power by the end of 2017. Photo supplied

Stage one of Sesan dam to be complete next year, PM reveals

The first stage of the controversial lower Sesan II hydropower dam in Stung Treng province will be complete in October 2017, Prime Minister Hun Sen said yesterday during a visit to the construction site.

The dam, which is expected to provide 400MW of power when it’s finally completed in 2018, has been a flashpoint for compensation battles and environmental concerns, and some 180 families in the area have yet to agree to relocate.

But in a Facebook message posted following a meeting with relocated community members on Wednesday, the prime minister pledged to improve living standards for the 630 families who have already agreed to relocate to Sesan district’s Kbal Romeas commune.

“Although the new community was just created, the government is paying attention and providing infrastructure that people need such as roads, schools and hospitals,” Hun Sen wrote. “People here have also received wooden or concrete houses according to their needs.”

The premier stressed that the government would continue to monitor the situation and improve living standards in the new village over the next five years. Still, some community members spoken to yesterday continued to express dissatisfaction with the relocation.

Siek Sarith, a 38-year-old villager who agreed to relocate, said he remains most worried about irrigation for his crops. “It’s still another three months [for my house] to be finished. What I worry about the most is about the source of water for our rice fields.”

Villagers, many of whom are Prov, Phnong and Lao ethnic minorities, have previously expressed fears that long-standing cultural traditions are at stake, citing the fact that ancestral graves will be buried under the new reservoir basin.

The government is currently in negotiations with the 180 families still refusing to move, but locals say it is unlikely they will agree to relocate.

“There’s no solution, because they say they will struggle to the death and remain in the village,” said Siek Mekong, a commune chief from Sesan district.

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese ‘prank’ threat video is no joke for Cambodia

    ‘Preah Sihanouk province, in the next three years, whether safe or chaotic, will be under my control,” declared a Chinese man in a white T-shirt, as another 19 men stood behind him shirtless, in a video that went viral on social media last month. After the

  • Woman detained for murder of hairdresser over unpaid $1K debt

    A woman has been held in connection with the murder of a 40-year-old widow. The victim’s daughter claims the motive was the suspect’s unpaid four million riel ($1,000) debt to her mother. The 17-year-old girl, Pich Sievmey, said her mother, Koem Yaneang, a hairdresser

  • ABA reports $71.8M net profit

    ABA Bank, a member of the National Bank of Canada group, recorded a net profit of $71.8 million last year, up 55 per cent from $46.2 million in 2017, its annual report released on Monday stated. A rise in the bank’s loan portfolio and the expansion of stated

  • Cambodia, Singapore to ‘move on’ from Lee remarks storm

    Cambodia, Singapore and Vietnam have agreed to move on from the controversy caused by remarks from Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and follow the path of cooperation, dialogue and friendship. The foreign ministers of the three countries had separate telephone conversations on Friday