Villagers from Boeng Kak Lake’s Village 1 said yesterday municipal officials had reneged on an offer to meet with them and discuss the compensation they say they were promised by Shukaku Inc, the firm filling in the lake for development.
The 24 families say that in 2007 Shukaku promised them $8,500 to relocate, but they have not yet received any money. The firm started to pump sand into their village earlier this month.
Chan Puthisak, a representative of 24 families from Village 1, said that on Tuesday they went to City Hall to try and meet with officials. A security guard, communicating with an unnamed official through his walkie-talkie, told them to return for a meeting yesterday at 2 pm.
When they arrived, security guards refused to let them into City Hall. Again speaking through a guard, an official reportedly told the villagers to go to court.
“We don’t understand…. We live by control under the government but we are seeking help and they don’t help us.”
Mr Puthisak said that Shukaku, with City Hall’s permission, was flooding the villagers’ homes.
“So, the company and City Hall should be responsible and provide us with compensation.”
Chhay Thirith, Srah Chak commune chief, said said Shukaku and Toll Royal Railway would solve the problem together, as Village 1 sits between the tracks and the lake.
“Ten meters from the railway, Toll will be responsible, and beside that Shukaku Inc will be responsible,” he said. Toll signed an agreement with the government to manage its railway system last year.
But David Kerr, Toll’s CEO, said resettlement was nothing to do with the firm.
“Resettlement is not a part of Toll’s railway concession. The railway concession is to operate and maintain the railway for 30 years.”
Ly Saveth, Phnom Penh municipality Cabinet chief, said he knew nothing about the meeting the villagers claimed to have scheduled. He declined to comment further.
(Additional reporting by Lucy Jordan)