June 21st, 2013,The government does little to protect the rights and livelihoods of the country’s many ethnic minorities who are under constant threat from rapid development, representatives of indigenous groups said yesterday. “We have polices laws and guidelines to protect indigenous people, but we see that it doesn't work,” said Savy Sochea, program... continue
About 100 tuk-tuk drivers, motorcycle taxi drivers, vendors and other informal transportation workers protested against the high price of gasoline yesterday at the National Assembly, claiming the high petrol prices are cutting into their small profits.
Vorn Pao, president of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association, which represents more than 4,000 workers in the informal transportation sector, said he submitted a petition to the National Assembly asking for the government to decrease the price of gasoline to 4,000 riel, or about $1, per liter.
“The government needs to drop the price because none of our workers are able to make any money, because they spend their profits paying for gasoline,” Mr. Pao said, adding that his organization would stage a mass protest on May 1 if the government does not reduce the price of gasoline.
The price of gasoline in Phnom Penh was 5,650 riel, or about $1.41, per liter at the pumps yesterday, an increase of 10 percent from the price of gas in April last year, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics. Last month, the price of gasoline jumped to an all-time high of 5,950 riel, or about $1.48. …
The government plans to review fuel import taxes in the wake of soaring prices at the pump over the past few weeks, an official said yesterday.
Cheam Yeap, Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker and chairman of the finance and banking commission, said the government will look into such measures as reducing the oil import tax and pushing for Chevron to increase its oil exploration activity in Cambodia. …
Participants at the Asean Peoples’ Forum have called on regional leaders to halt plans to construct two controversial hydropower dams in Laos and Cambodia because of the large number of people who will be affected and the lack of public consultation.
The forum in Phnom Penh, which ended on Saturday and was attended by 1,200 delegates from the 10 Asean countries, called on Asean leaders to “cancel” the planned mainstream Xayaburi dam in Laos and to delay the construction of the Lower Sesan 2 dam in Stung Treng province’s Sesan district. …
More than 200 families in Prey Veng province protested outside the Pea Reang district police office on Wednesday against electricity providers Elisa Hour and Electricite du Cambodge (EdC), which have both refused to lower electricity rates, despite having made a promise to do so three months ago.
In January, state-owned company EdC promised villagers that electric fees would be reduced from 3,000 riel (about $0.75) per kilowatt-hour to 1,700 riel (about $0.45). But prices have still not come down, villagers said yesterday. …
State-run Electricite du Cambodge (EdC), the main provider of electricity in the country, has appealed to residents of Phnom Penh to reduce electricity use due to a power shortage, an EdC official said yesterday.
The company is only able to produce 70 percent of the city’s electricity demand, as serious water shortfalls have caused the Kirirom hydropower dam in Kompong Speu to stop working and significantly reduced power production at Kampot’s Kamchay dam, said the official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. …
More than 500 residents of Pursat City have signed a letter addressed to Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy Suy Sem threatening to take to the streets in protest if the town’s privately owned electricity distributor does not reduce prices.
Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, wrote yesterday to the minister asking that he intervene on behalf of the residents and have the private power supplier, Nareth Electricity Development Co, drop the price of power by more than half, from current rates of 1,750 riel per kilowatt hour to 800 riel, or about $0.45 per kilowatt hour to $0.20. …
Police in Siem Reap province said yesterday that they confiscated two trucks in Varin district Friday morning carrying 24,228 liters of gasoline believed to have been smuggled from Thailand.
Soeun Sem, chief of the Siem Reap economic police, said that officers apprehended the two trucks holding drums of gasoline as they were driving along National Route 68, but the two drivers managed to escape. …
The discovery of the trucks comes as provincial police are stepping up investigations into illegal sales of untaxed gasoline smuggled from Thailand after three gasoline companies, including Tela and Mittapheap, filed complaints over what they said was an increase in smuggling.
The Sam Rainsy Party has asked Prime Minister Hun Sen to verify the details of a proposed dam that could inundate about 10,000 hectares of protected forest, citing concerns that it would lead to rampant illegal logging and devastate a traditional habitat of Siamese crocodiles.
The proposed 109-megawatt dam would inundate about 20,000 hectares of land overall in Koh Kong province’s Cheay Areng valley, according to conservation groups, although an environmental impact assessment of the dam commissioned by the company suggested only 9,474 hectares would be flooded.
About 400 indigenous Lao villagers prayed and sacrificed chickens to a powerful local spirit yesterday in Stung Treng province, seeking supernatural help in halting the planned construction of the Lower Sesan 2 Dam, villagers and commune officials said yesterday.
The hydropower projects, funded by Vietnam Electricity, will flood tens of thousands of hectares of forest and farmland, and displace 5,000 mostly indigenous minority villagers in Sesan district.
Although plans for the dam have been in the works since 2008, villagers have never been officially informed about resettlement plans or when construction is scheduled to start, although they were told in May that they would be evicted. … With these worries in mind, villagers from three affected communes – Srekor, Kbal Romeas and Phluk – came together yesterday with more than 50 other villagers who boated in from Ratanakiri province to pray before the local spirit, Neak Ta Krahorm Kar, which roughly translates as “spirit with the red neck.”
More than 500 ethnic minority residents of riparian communities in northeastern Cambodia held a peaceful protest Tuesday against the construction of a Vietnamese-led hydroelectric dam that will relocate them from their ancestral land.
The villagers, who live along the Se San River in Stung Treng and Ratanakiri provinces, marched on foot and led a boat procession to the Lower Se San 2 Hydroelectric Dam construction site, about 25 kilometers (16 miles) upstream from Stung Treng city—the provincial capital.
They donned red cloth around their waists and foreheads to honor local spirits and held prayers to protect the river ecology from the U.S. $816 million dam project, which is being led by Electricity of Vietnam.