Officials with the Land Management Ministry and Koh Kong Provincial Hall yesterday ended a years-long land dispute between villagers and sugar companies through distribution of compensation to the families involved.
The resolution came after the families demanded that the Land Management Ministry solve their case with Koh Kong Sugar Industry and Koh Kong Plantation last week.
Chhea Eang, a representative of families in Sre Ambel district, said yesterday that villagers have accepted the ministry’s resolution, despite mixed-feelings toward the result.
She noted that each family agreed to accept two hectares of land and $3,000 to end the dispute, adding that ministry and provincial officials finalised the resolution over the weekend and would soon begin distribution of land.
“We have already accepted this resolution, even though the location of the land is further away from our village – about 40 to 50 kilometres away,” Ms Eang said, adding that protestors are appealing to ministry and provincial authorities to help organise the clearing of surrounding forests in the new area.
Tep Thon, an undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, said yesterday that authorities have also provided a resolution to another land dispute case involving 170 families in Batom Sakor district.
“We will continue to work until the cases are settled,” Mr Thon said. “In the past, people protested, but now your problem has been resolved.”
Koh Kong Provincial Governor Mithona Phouthorng said yesterday that aside from land distribution, the authorities would clear forests and build infrastructure, but only after the election.
“Provincial authorities are delighted to resolve land disputes for people so that the land can be used for farming,” Ms Mithona said.
In March, the Land Management Ministry and sugar company representatives held a meeting to solve land disputes for more than 375 families in the two districts in Koh Kong province.
The sugar companies agreed to carve out more than 800 hectares of land to end the disputes.