The Phnom Penh Post
Written by Mom Kunthear
Friday, 29 May 2009
Pailin villagers say they are being unfairly treated by new water company, which is demanding they pay for the costs of installing new pipes.
MORE than 300 households across four villages in Pailin province have signed a second complaint to the governor against a provincial water company, which they say is forcing them to pay for new water pipes - which they say they do not need or want.
"We sent a complaint to [rights group] Adhoc on May 22.... I don't know when the governor will start to solve this for us," said Soun Bunleap, a representative of the province's Wat village, adding that Adhoc had forwarded the complaint to the governor's office on behalf of the villagers.
He said the company was requiring the four villages to pay US$50 for new pipes, and after sending a complaint to the governor in March, the issue has remained unresolved.
"We are simply asking that they not charge us money for [new pipes] because we have already paid money [for pipes] to the old company. If they keep changing companies, we will be forced to pay for [the same thing] all the time," Soun Bunleap said.
Company ‘not making profit'
Yong Savan, general manager of the company in question, the Thomas Co, denied claims the charges for new pipes were excessive.
"The company [installed] new pipes and we're not making a profit [on it]," he said. "Not all villagers in the province have agreed with the cost. About 60 percent of them agreed and we [installed their pipes] already. Only around 40 percent don't agree.... We aren't forcing them," he said.
Eang Vuth, Pailin deputy governor, said Wednesday that he was arranging a meeting with the owner of the water company to solve the problem.