Stung Treng villagers seek intervention on dam

Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay (centre) speaks to villagers affected by the Lower Sesan II dam yesterday at CNRP headquarters.
Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay (centre) speaks to villagers affected by the Lower Sesan II dam yesterday at CNRP headquarters. Facebook

Villagers representing some 700 community members will petition the Ministry of Mines and Energy today, asking them not to use Stung Treng province’s Lower Sesan II dam at full capacity.

Representatives from the ethnically Phnong village of Kbal Romeas and from the ethnically Lao village of Srekor will today seek government intervention to oblige the Hydro Power Lower Sesan 2 Company to operate only eight of its 10 gates in an effort to prevent their homes from becoming submerged next month.

“We do not stop the development, but if the company closes only its eight gates, our villages will not be so deluged, so we can live at our homes,” Kbal Romeas villager Lat Vibol said.

He said last month during the technical test of the dam, eight gates had been closed, filling the reservoir, which left parts of the Srekor village 1 metre underwater. Nonetheless, he said villagers could still remain in the area at those levels.

Company representative Chhay Meng said he was not an expert on the impact of the dam gates and referred questions to the Ministry of Mines and Energy, who could not be reached yesterday.

Seven community representatives also went to meet with Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker Son Chhay at the National Assembly yesterday, but when only two were permitted entry, they were forced to meet at party headquarters instead.

“We told him about the [negative] effects from the dam project, so that he could intervene,” Vibol said, adding Chhay had been invited to visit the dam site.