Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Students blocked from dam

Students blocked from dam

Officials stop students from entering areas affected by the Lower Sesan II hydropower dam on Saturday in Stung Treng province.
Officials stop students from entering areas affected by the Lower Sesan II hydropower dam on Saturday in Stung Treng province. Photo supplied

Students blocked from dam

More than 30 university students from Phnom Penh were blocked by police on Saturday from visiting communities affected by the Lower Sesan II hydropower dam project in Stung Treng.

Meng Heng, an activist with conservation NGO Mother Nature, said that the students were on their way to visit villagers in Srekor and Kbal Romea who are refusing to relocate. The students were denied entry by about 20 police and Military Police who claimed the area was unsafe.

“A pickup truck full of police overtook them and stopped in front of the bus to . . . force them to return,” Heng said.

“We tried to persuade officials to allow them to access, but they still said no, saying that they had orders from their senior official. Some of the students felt fear, and they all returned,” Heng continued.

Heng said the students wanted to see the reality of the villagers’ situation for themselves.

“The authority does not want the information to be heard by outsiders,” he said, claiming the local authorities were acting like dictators.

About 120 families in Srekor and 58 in Kbal Romea are refusing to relocate, despite the imminent flooding of their villages when the dam closes its gates.

Choeun Sreymom, a villager from Kbal Romea, said she was disappointed that the students were denied entry, and accused the authorities of violating human rights.

“The students are simple people who want to know our difficulties,” she said.

Men Kong, Stung Treng Provincial Hall spokesman, said authorities are working to resolve the dispute with the villagers, and outsiders would just cause a disturbance.

“We were concerned about their safety,” Kong said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Construction begins on $1.5B Kampot seaport

    The International Multi-Purpose Logistics and Port Centre, principally invested by Kampot Logistics and Port Co Ltd and projected to cost $1.5 billion, has officially broken ground in Bokor town, Kampot province. The multi-purpose logistics and port centre, located in Prek Tnaot commune, will be built on

  • Cambodia eyes key role in electronics, auto hubs in SEA

    Two roadmaps, part of the LDC’s economic diversification plan, were designed to see it through its migration process, but experts say the journey might be arduous, particularly in the presence of two established hubs in the region By 2028, Cambodia hopes to have exited the

  • Hun Neng, lawmaker and PM’s brother, passes away aged 72

    Hun Neng, chairman of the 4th Commission of the National Assembly, has passed away from heart disease at the age of 72 on the afternoon of May 5, according to the Ministry of Information. Hun Neng is the older brother of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and was

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM meets with US business giants

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has met with a number of major US companies who have expressed interest in investing in Cambodia, in a meeting convened by the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC). A delegation of companies – including Amazon, Meta, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Ford, Visa and Pernod

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180