Several more families in Phnom Penh’s Community B have accepted compensation from development firm HCD to move from their land in Tuol Kok district, villagers and company representatives said Monday.
Residents of the neighborhood said that after negotiating with the firm owned by Othsman Hassan, CPP secretary of state for the Ministry of Labor, they agreed to accept between $25,000 and $30,000 in compensation for their land.
The residents have repeatedly rejected HCD’s previous offer of either a once-off cash payment of $20,000 or $2,500 and alternative modest housing at a relocation site west of Phnom Penh International Airport.
Othsman Hassan confirmed Monday that six or seven of the 20 families had accepted compensation from his company, adding that individual deals may have differed by $2,000 or $3,000.
Local resident Heng Long said he negotiated with HCD after a week of meetings with Tuol Kok District Governor Seng Ratanak. He said that the company promised to pay him $30,000 in three payments; he has so far received $2,000.
“With this money, I will have to add some more to buy a new house…I have no other choice,” Heng Long said.
A resident who spoke on condition of anonymity said that she had met with company representatives, who offered her $25,000. She has not accepted and is hoping for $40,000.
“Sooner or later, I will consider accepting, because I see that residents don’t have much power any longer,” she said.
Resident Sok Leng Yin said that she had not yet met with HCD representatives, but added that she thought $30,000 was not enough.
Othsman Hassan said by telephone Monday that about 13 families have not yet accepted compensation from his company, but he hoped to successfully complete negotiations within a month.
“We have been working on this problem with residents for a long time, and I hope we will finish it next month,” he said.
He added that even though the ongoing global economic crisis has impacted some sectors in Cambodia, he expects his company to begin construction of a supermarket and offices at the Community B site soon.
“We have a variety of projects, and we will complete them one by one,” he said.
Municipal deputy governor Mann Chhoeun said that he had not heard of the recent agreements, but was pleased with the results.
“I think [both sides] are learning from Dey Krahorm’s experience,” he said. “I am happy to see they are gentle to each other, and I encourage them to continue this way.”
In January, scores of families living in Chamkar Mon district’s Dey Krahorm community were forcibly evicted after refusing to accept a developer’s compensation offer.