77 Kraya Families Receive a Lifeline

Provincial authorities will next week start providing some families with the farmland promised to them a year ago when they were forcibly evicted at gunpoint from their homes in Kompong Thom province’s Kraya commune, deputy provincial governor Uch Sam On said yesterday.

Mr Sam On said 77 families with disabled family members would be the first recipients of 1-hectare farm lots allocated in another area of Kraya commune. He said the 77 families would enter a lottery to decide which piece of land they were granted.

“Next week we will hand one hectare of farmland to 77 handicapped families…. After that we will offer land to other families,” Mr Sam On said.

On Dec 6 last year, about 200 armed security personnel forced 602 families to move from Bateay Ra’ngeang village, a site earmarked for a rubber plantation developed by Vietnamese firm Tan Bien-Kompong Thom Rubber Development Company.

Following the eviction, provincial officials promised to compensate each family with a hectare of land prior to this year’s rainy season.

Mr Sam On said yesterday that he now hoped the remaining 525 displaced families would receive their promised land before next year’s rainy season, a year later than originally anticipated.

Prum Saroth, 48, a disabled former soldier who suffered head injuries from a B-40 rocket explosion while fighting Khmer Rouge forces in Kompong Thom in 1985, said yesterday that while he had heard reports that some families would soon receive land, he was not sure he believed them.

“I hope to get the land, but I will wait and see,” he said.

Nhem Sarat, provincial monitor for rights group Adhoc, said yesterday that all 602 displaced families should receive their land immediately.


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