Relocated Families in Disputes Over New Land

More than 1,500 families living in Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district who have agreed to relocate to the outskirts of the city are locked in negotiations with a private firm over who will receive land at the new site.

Commercial real estate firm Sour Srun Enterprise Co Ltd has agreed to provide a plot of land to each household at Tonle Bassac commune’s Village 14 behind the Rus­sian Embassy, but villagers oppose this because there are up to three families living in some homes, said the residents’ representative, Hing So­phan­nara.

“The company says one house is one family and gets a plot of land. This is a problem,” he said. “The com­pany should think about the poor.”

All 1,507 families living in the village have agreed to move to the new site in Dangkao district’s Tra­peang Krasang commune, but want the company to build shelters there and provide water and electri­ci­ty first, said a second representative, Chea Phanna.

“The most important thing is drinking water,” he said.

Residents also said rumors that their makeshift community would be burned down have been cir­­cu­la­ting since Monday night.

“Now we are on alert to prevent any incident,” Chea Phanna said.

Huy Chhor, a representative for Sour Srun, said municipal officials are working on water systems for the relocation site.

“We plan to drill 20 wells, but the vil­lagers requested that the water sys­tem be connected [to the city sup­­ply],” he said.

He said that the firm will provide 5-meter-by-12-meter plots of land to each registered household.

Municipal Governor Kep Chuk­te­ma said the families will be relocated “very soon,” adding that not all the residents own their homes and some will not be given land at the new site.

“We have no solution for them,” he added.

Before villagers move, a school, hos­pitals and toilets should be in­stall­ed at the new site, said resident Nhem Sarin—adding that he does not really want to relocate, but if he is forced to, he wants the firm to provide him with an 8-meter-by-16-meter plot of land.

“I was very disappointed when I vis­it­ed the land. There is nothing yet. I am sure when we move there, 100 percent of people will sell their plots of land and come back to the city,” he said.


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