City Hall Planning to Privatize 280-Hectare Development Site

City Hall plans to privatize a 280-hectare plot of public land set aside for a $3 billion development by the Over­seas Cambodia Investment Cor­poration (OCIC) in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changva district, officials said Thursday.

The entire development area covers 387 hectares next to National Road 6A. OCIC has pushed those living on the land to take compensation deals and move out, making way for its satellite city project.

City Hall held meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday with land management officials and OCIC representatives to discuss a draft sub-decree to privatize most of

the land, according to municipal spokesman Long Dimanche.

“The meetings set out a plan to privatize the public state land to give it to the OCIC for their development,” he said. “It is 280 hectares, but excludes villagers’ land.”

Mr. Dimanche added that he was unsure when the process would be complete, or how much OCIC would pay for the land.

Once the Council of Ministers approves the sub-decree, land management authorities will provide a land title to City Hall, who can then award it to OCIC, said Sarin Vanna, director of the municipal land management department.

“We will make regulations to provide a land title to Phnom Penh City Hall,” Mr. Vanna said.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday evening, City Hall said it was seeking a resolution with Chroy Changva residents who would be displaced by the project.

“We have to peacefully settle with villagers to prevent suffering, but we cannot resolve all issues,” it said. “The area cannot continue to be anarchic—we have to develop it with infrastructure, electricity and hospitals.”

Uy Phary, 51, who lives on the site, said villagers would continue protesting until OCIC provided adequate compensation. In January, residents said they had been offered $15 per square meter, though they believe the land is worth $400 per square meter.

“Until now, OCIC has not yet resolved the issue with villagers,” Ms. Phary said yesterday. “If there is no solution, we won’t stay quiet like during the Pol Pot regime.”

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