Two students of the Lycee Francais Rene Descartes, who protested outside their high school in Daun Penh district Thursday against a forced eviction to make way for a school expansion, visited the site where the soon-to-be evicted families have been offered land in Meanchey district’s Boeung Tumpun commune.
The 4-by-8 meter sites being offered to the 37 families are located on a section of a lake that has recently been filled in with earth, and that lacks roads, plumbing, water and electricity.
“There is nothing here,” said 19-year-old Mariano Pictet, who along with his brother, 17-year-old Raimondo Pictet, helped organize the small protest at his school’s entrance gates, which attracted around 50 students. “Government officials told us yesterday this property has investment value,” Raimondo said, looking at a stream of raw sewage flowing through the freshly staked out 4-by-8-meter plots reserved for the families.
Government officials said they had, as far back as 2002, informed the 37 families, who are former and current civil servants, that they would have to leave the building, as it was to be transferred to the lycee.
Sok Penhvuth, deputy district governor for Daun Penh district, said by phone Friday that each family would be compensated according to their length of tenure.
“In total there are 37 families who have been placed into three categories for compensation: Category A has 13 families, who will be compensated $10,000; category B has 11 families, who will receive $7,000; and category C has 13 families, who will be given $5,000. They also get a plot of land at the resettlement site,” he said.
Sok Penhvuth said the residents will be removed after the Khmer New Year. “Probably by Monday, April 20,” he said.
Mariano and Raimondo held a news conference later on Friday at the contested building, during which residents made demands for better compensation. “I would ask the government for a 4-meter-by-16-meter plot and $20,000,” In Dara Vuth, who lives on the ground floor of the building, told reporters, a sentiment most residents share.