Nearly 400 Families to Receive Land

Nearly 400 families who claim land within an area slated for a $3-billion development project on Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changva Peninsula will be granted a collective 28-hectare slice of the land, according to the district governor.

Khlaing Huot announced at a meeting with 374 families from Prek Tasek commune, who oppose the removal of their homes to make way for the Overseas Cambodia Investment Corporation (OCIC) project, that the Phnom Penh municipality would carve out part of the 387-hectare land concession for the families.

Mr. Huot said by telephone he would ask the municipal government to request the government issue land titles for the residents.

“This morning, I went to meet with the residents in Prek Tasek commune because previously they were concerned about the effect on the village because of the OCIC company,” Mr. Huot said.

“We believe in the leadership of Samdech Decho [Hun Sen] who said that the developments should not develop on the tears of the people, and we also got acceptance from the company,” he added.

In February, City Hall said it would partition OCIC’s plot, giving 10 percent to villagers.

The disputed land, most of which has been pumped full of sand dredged from the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers, includes parts of Chroy Changva commune, Prek Tasek commune and Prek Liep commune.

Mr. Huot did not say whether villagers in other communes would receive land.

Sam Sieng, a 64-year old resident of Prek Tasek village, welcomed the announcement.

“I’m really happy to hear about this decision,” he said. “But I can’t believe it 100 percent yet, because none of us have a land title yet.”

However, 18 families in Prek Tasek commune whose homes were on the eastern side of a road built by OCIC were not included in the deal, according to Mr. Huot.

“I will call these 18 families to discuss finding a resolution as soon as possible,” he said.

Touch Samnang, OCIC project manager, said that “in principle” the company would not do anything that would affect the villagers’ homes.

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