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Villagers allege firm worsened flooding

Villagers allege firm worsened flooding

AROUND 100 families from Banteay Meanchey province are demanding compensation from a business they have accused of closing flood-prevention gates during torrential rains last month, resulting in widespread damage to villagers’ crops.

The complaints come from residents of Tuol Pongro commune in O’Chroy district and Poipet town’s Nimit commune. They have been levelled against Anco Brothers Co Ltd, a company that runs a water treatment facility in Poipet.

Saing Ban, a villager from Tuol Pongro commune, said the floodwaters haven’t yet drained away because the company has shut the water gates to a drainage system. He said the company is trying to retain the water for its water treatment facility.

“I need compensation for the damages done to my rice fields, either in the form of rice crops or cash,” said Saing Ban.

He said five water gates had been closed for four days, locking in floodwaters and damaging around 100 hectares of rice fields in Toul Pongro.

Anco Brothers could not be reached for comment yesterday. But Toul Pongro’s Commune Chief Tim Monn said that while rice fields had been damaged by heavy rains, water levels had receded 10 days prior, and that the company was not responsible for any damages.

“The flood was caused by simple rainfall,” said Tim Monn. “No company has touched the water gates.”

The affected villagers say they plan to file a complaint against the company with local rights group Adhoc.

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