Dam-Displaced Villagers Protest Chinese Firm

Nearly 100 villagers protested at the site of the under-construction Stung Treng 2 irrigation dam in Od­dar Meanchey province on Thursday, demanding replacement plots for the farmland they lost to the project.

The Chinese-owned Sinohydro company started construction on the dam in Chongkal district’s Pongro commune in June last year and expects to finish in November.

Two-hundred families once farmed rice, vegetables and fruit on the land that has since been excavated for the dam’s 6,000-hectare reservoir, according to district governor Rithy Pak.

The majority of the families—158—also lived on the site and have received small residential plots about 6 km away, but none has received new farming plots, or been otherwise compensated for the fertile land they lost, he said.

Sok Somy, 41, who joined Thursday’s protest, said she lost six hectares of farmland. “Authorities have to calculate a suitable price for my fruit trees, farmland and rice [fields],” she said, adding that locals were also wary of the dam’s future impact on the area.

“Right now, villagers dare not cultivate paddy rice because they are scared of flooding when they close the gates of the dam.”

Sinohydro could not be reached for comment.

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