The number of families who have registered for space on a social land concession intended for farmers evicted from land in Kratie province—who held a series of protests last month in Phnom Penh—has more than doubled, with hundreds of newcomers registering, according to a deputy provincial governor.
The 750-hectare concession, which was allocated to 301 families whose homes were burned by authorities after they refused to leave the disputed land when it was sold to the Binh Phuoc 2 company, has now received registration requests for 750 families, said provincial deputy governor Khan Chamnan.
“We completed the registration on Thursday afternoon and the number of families is 750 registered on the list,” said Mr. Chamnan, whose provincial working group tallied the figures.
Mr. Chamnan added it was highly unlikely that his authorities would allow the 449 newcomers, who he said mostly came from Tbong Khmum province’s Krek district, to move onto the land.
Farmer Lim Chandy, 56, who is part of the initial 301 evicted families, voiced his frustration at the influx of newcomers attempting to get a plot of the land in Snuol district.
“There are many families unhappy that the number of families registered is bigger than the 301 for whom the 750 hectares was intended,” he said Sunday, adding that authorities had failed to prevent the newcomers from registering.
Mr. Chandy said that the newcomers were also evictees.
The 301 families who were offered the social land concession have been involved in a high profile dispute since being evicted on May 2.
Many traveled to Phnom Penh and sought refuge in Samakki Raingsey pagoda while petitioning various government offices for their land to be returned.
A deal was eventually struck and the farmers returned to the 750-hectare plot near their original land in Khsoem commune.
Kao Malilen, director of the provincial land management department, said that his working group prepared two hectares of farmland and a 20 meter by 30 meter housing plot set aside for each of the 301 families.
“We will withdraw families who are not recognized,” he said.