PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – New houses built for 100 families who were pushed off of their land by the construction of the Sesan Krom II Dam have been slammed as substandard by the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (Adhoc).
The Royal Group of Cambodia was contracted to build houses for those displaced by the project, but when villagers arrived, they found half-built structures lacking basic necessities.
Adhoc official Ho Samol, who is based in Stung Treng province, went to observe the construction at Kbal Romeas commune and found that most of the houses were damaged or poorly built.
The Sesan Krom II Dam project was criticized by NGOs and civil society groups who said it would affect the forests in the area and push out villagers living along the Sesan River.
“The Sesan Krom II hydro-electric dam will generate more than 400 megawatts for the provinces around Stung Treng, and the rest of the electricity will also be sold to Vietnam and Laos
Dr. Kem Ley, a political commentator, said the dam was plagued from the start.
“What we lose are more than natural resources, but also the loss of culture and traditions of that ethnic group,” he said. “It was a big mistake to develop without thinking of conservation.”
The Royal Group of Cambodia did not respond to calls and messages from Khmer Times.
The Sesan Krom II Dam will cost $800 million and is a joint venture between Cambodia, China and Vietnam. Construction started in 2010 and is slated to finish in 2020 – five years behind schedule.