Prime Minister Hun Sen today denied baseless accusations that the government is purposely cutting off power to people in order to form an excuse to move forward with the controversial Stung Cheay Areng hydropower dam.
On Saturday, Radio Free Asia reported that residents and environmental activists suspect that the government has been reducing the power supply so it can have an excuse to build the dam in Koh Kong province.
Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson, founder of NGO Mother Nature, said in the broadcast that the government must be responsible for the power shortage.
“There are two or three weeks of electricity being cut and it is expected to last two more months,” Mr Gonzales-Davidson said. “Why has no one resigned from their [government] position? Why has no one apologised to the people?”
The Kingdom is currently facing a power shortage, which the government has blamed on a hot spell of weather affecting the output of power from hydropower dams.
Speaking during an inauguration ceremony for the opening of a water system in Kampot province yesterday, Mr Hun Sen said the government stopped considering building the Stung Cheay Areng dam in 2015.
“A lack of electricity supply is not a reason to build a hydropower dam. They accuse us of pretending to have a shortage of power so that we can build a hydropower dam,” Mr Hun Sen said. “The criticism was extreme and unjust. Why don’t you justly look at us and refrain from considering everything as bad.”
The building of Stung Cheay Areng hydropower dam in Koh Kong province ceased in 2015 after environmental concerns were raised by local residents.
Mr Hun Sen said those who accused the government of being behind the shortage of electricity in order to restart the dam’s project were lying.
“If they said this, then please cut off the power supply to their homes,” Mr Hun Sen said. “You look at Hun Sen as doing everything that’s bad. I didn’t want to say this, but they keep analysing like this.”
Full story in Wednesday’s paper