Residents rally over OCIC land dispute

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times No Comments Share:

Hundreds of residents locked in a land dispute with the Overseas Cambodia Investment Corporation in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changva district yesterday submitted a petition to the Land Management Ministry.

Residents claimed that 134 families were left out of a resolution deal over a land dispute with OCIC’s Chroy Changva satellite city development.

Cheap Sophat, a family representative, said that the dispute with OCIC first began in 2011 when the company began developing a satellite city.

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Residents began to appeal for intervention from municipal authorities and the Land Management Ministry. However, Mr Sophea said that no solution was provided and OCIC continued developing the disputed land.

“So we came here today to a Senior Minister, who is the guardian and manager of the city, to help review and take our requests to solve the issue with transparency,” he said.

He noted that OCIC’s original resolution promised compensation, but the company could not determine the price of land because it belonged to the state.

He said that the company had rented more than 280 hectares of land to be developed from the state over the next 90 years.

According to the petition, residents in Chroy Changva, Prek Leap and Prek Tasek communes are asking the ministry to intervene over three points: For OCIC to suspend all activities related to the dispute; for the ministry to carve out a sizeable land for residents without evicting them; and for the distribution of farmland, of which residents are willing to pay half the costs.

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In the past, City Hall said the land originally belonged to the state, a claim rejected by residents. As a partial solution to the problem, City Hall provided ten percent of the total land occupied by residents and provided financial compensation of $15 per square metre.

Responding to the rally yesterday, an unnamed ministry official said that the new petition was accepted.

Met Meas Pheakdey, City Hall spokesman, reiterated that officials resolved the issue in the past for many families and said that officials will continue to coordinate with residents to complete the resolution.

“There are many phases to this that were already resolved, but it’s not 100 percent completed,” Mr Meas Pheakdey said.

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