Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Villagers allege firm hogged water

via CAAI

Tuesday, 15 February 2011 15:01 Chhay Channyda

Villagers from three communes in Kampong Chhnang received extra irrigation water yesterday after complaining to officials that their rice fields have not been irrigated for 10 days due to alleged excessive pumping of canal water by local conglomerate Pheapimex Group.

Villagers in Khun Rang, Melom and Phsar communes in Boribor district said they were concerned that dozens of hectares of rice fields were drying up from a lack of downstream water flow, claiming Pheapimex had caused the problem by pumping water for their cassava plantations, Nov Vuon, the chief of Chumteav Botrey village, said yesterday.

He said the water flow originating from the Boribor river varies every year, but that villagers had recently had no water to water their crops.

Dok Bunthon, director of the provincial water resources department, said that after visiting the affected area yesterday, he ordered Pheapimex to redirect water to the three communes.

Pheapimex, owned by Choeung Sopheap, wife of ruling party senator Lao Meng Khin, was granted a 315,028-hectare concession to develop land in Kampong Chhnang and Pursat provinces to plant acacia and cassava crops.

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