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Lake Residents Seek Land Measurement

  • Chun Sakada
  • VOA Khmer

City officials say the development of the area requires them to remove their houses so that new ones can be built, after which they can return.

City officials say the development of the area requires them to remove their houses so that new ones can be built, after which they can return.

Residents facing eviction in Phnom Penh’s Boeung Kak lake development sent a request to the city on Thursday asking for the establishment of a commission to measure plots of land they think could solve the problem.

The request comes amid increased pressure on authorities to resolve a standoff between a local developer and thousands of impoverished residents who refuse to make way for an extensive commercial and residential property project.

Resident representative Tep Vanny told VOA Khmer on Friday the community had submitted a request asking for city authorities and the Ministry of Land Management’s cadastre office to measure plots of land under a new compensation plan.

Residents have reduced their demands for 15 hectares of land, set aside from the 133-hectare development, down to 10 hectares, said Ly Srey Mom, another village representative. Under that scheme, 744 plots of land would be established for 1,500 families, she said.

“We detailed the completion of our land plots and sent this to the city,” she said. “We want to talk with the city representatives and end land disputes that have taken place over four years with no resolution.”

The city has so far not responded to a May 9 request for a meeting, despite numerous protests by the residents, who say a buyout package from the developer, Shukaku, Inc., is too little. Last month, police clashed with resident protesters in front of city hall, injuring several and briefly detaining a number of them.

Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema has already promised residents the city would measure land plots, but that has not yet taken place.

Meanwhile, the World Bank, which was reprimanded by an internal investigation for failing to title the people living around the lake under a titling program, issued a statement this week calling on both parties to “reach a resolution.”

The bank said it had been assured the government was “taking a number of steps to improve resettlement processes more generally in Cambodia.”

Ly Srey Mom said the World Bank titling project had failed residents around the lake, so the bank now had a duty to support them, which would provide “transparency and justice.”

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