A representative of the Try Pheap Group said Tuesday that villagers in Pursat province who attempted to march to a public forum on Monday to ask authorities to intervene in a land dispute would not receive any further compensation after losing the right to the land they say they have farmed since 1996.
Police and military police blocked about 200 people from entering a pagoda in Veal Veng district’s Anlong Reap commune, at which provincial, commune and village officials were hosting a forum where the villagers hoped to have their complaint heard.
On Tuesday, the Try Pheap Group, which has leased parts of the economic land concession back to the farmers, said it would not bow to the villagers’ requests that the land be returned to them.
“We already provided a solution to the affected families and we have no plan to give more land to protesters because they cultivated on the company’s land this year,” said Chey Sith, chief of administration for the Try Pheap Group in Phnom Penh.
The land concession, granted to two Try Pheap subsidiaries in 2011 for rubber and pepper plantations, covers 8,000 hectares, 2,000 of which are now being leased by the farmers.
Yous Barch, one of the villagers who marched to the pagoda, said that there would be further protests if the authorities did not find a solution for villagers.
“We wanted authorities to find a solution but more than 30 police and military police pushed all of us back [from entering the forum],” he said.
Veal Veng district governor Chhe Chhiv said that provincial authorities and Try Pheap Group had already solved the dispute for 400 affected families by leasing them land.
“We have provided a solution for almost all the affected families, but a small number have not yet been solved,” he said.