Authorities may allow villagers to stay on ELC

Source: Phnom Penh Post

Authorities stop villagers from blocking a road in Kratie during a protest over a land dispute in 2015. Yesterday, district authorities said the community members may be allowed to keep their homes. ADHOC

Snuol district authorities in Kratie yesterday said they may allow hundreds of families living inside an economic land concession (ELC) owned by Memot Rubber Plantation company to keep their homes, a day after villagers protested against evictions.

Provincial authorities had given villagers until Tuesday to move off of the company’s land, which spans 9,855 hectares.

Villager Met Thy, 50, yesterday remained sceptical about authorities’ promises.

“We have protested several times, but authorities do not solve this [dispute] for us, they also informed us to leave from the land,” he said.

“Then we protested, [and now] the district authorities want us to pick three representatives to negotiate with them, [and] promised to help, but we do not believe them yet.”

Snuol District Governor Kong Kimny said there are meetings scheduled for early next week to find solutions.

Following the meetings, authorities will send officials to measure the land inside the ELC, and could cut away the land being occupied by the 418 families and grant it to them as a social land concession.

“On the 11th or 12th of September, authorities will start collecting information from them [the villagers], letting the company identify a clear boundary,” Kimny said.

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