Bad Weather Postpones Opening of Controversial Dam in Kampot

The inauguration ceremony of a dam in Kampot province set for Tuesday was postponed after Prime Minister Hun Sen canceled his plans to travel there by helicopter because of bad weather.

No new date has yet been set for the inauguration of the Kamchay dam in Kampot district, Kampot Provincial Governor Khoy Kun Hour said, adding the dam could produce about 193.2 megawatt-hours for Phnom Penh.

“I am canceling my schedule in Kampot because there will be a storm [for] the closing ceremony of the Kamchay dam construction,” Prime Minister Hun Sen said at an ethanol plant inauguration in Kan­dal province Monday.

The dam’s construction has spark­ed protests. Villagers have com­plained that explosions at a nearby quarry used to build the dam had sprayed rock fragments around, damaging homes and farms.

SRP lawmaker Ho Vann said he questioned the contract between Chinese company Sinohydro and the government and that he was not confident in the quality of the dam. “This contract is very weird be­cause the profit goes to the company and the government pays for the accidents or natural damages caus­ed by the dam,” Ho Vann said, ad­ding that the company’s con­cession was longer and the electricity’s price higher than in neighboring countries.

But CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said that since 1993 the government has opened bidding for dam projects to any interested companies.

“We want other companies be­side the Chinese, but we could not find even a local company,” Cheam Yeap said.

Sinohydro Corporation could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

“We really want a cheap price for electricity, but we couldn’t,” he said, adding companies that could offer a cheaper price had not been interested in the Kamchay dam or were fake companies.


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