Representatives of 28 families in Kampot province’s Toek Chhou district yesterday filed a complaint with local rights group Adhoc stating that they are unhappy with the compensation offered by local authorities to build a canal on their property.
Try Chhoun, provincial coordinator for Adhoc, said that the two sides met earlier this month to discuss compensation for land to be used as a part of a hydropower dam project being built nearby by China’s Sinohydro Kamchay Hydroelectric Company.
“The villagers are not happy with the compensation offered by the government and they want more,” she said.
Loeung Sina, a villager in Prey Thnang commune, said that she was only offered $1.50 per square meter over more than 500 square meters of her property that will be affected by the canal.
“It is an unacceptable price,” she said, adding that she purchased the contested area of land for $3,200 in 2007, and at $1.50 per square meter, she would only be receiving $624.
“I propose the government to make proper compensation according to the current price of the land. At this price, I would not accept since I would be losing a lot of money.”
The $280 million Kamchay dam is slated to be completed before the end of the year and is expected to produce 194 megawatts of electricity annually once it comes online.
Khiev Korn, Kandorl commune chief, said that construction on the canal will begin sometime between November and May and will help in preventing flooding in the area due to the dam, as well as serve agricultural needs such as harvesting crops.
“The water will flow from Stung Keo Lake across Thmei, Prey Thnang and Trapaing Pring communes,” he said. “We are now working with a group and preparing to solve the land dispute with the affected villagers according to the law.” settle for.