Source : Khmer Times
Kandal provincial authorities and six unnamed companies in Kandal Stung district are handing out money to thousands of families locked in a 400-hectare land dispute in a bid to quell protests.
Those who accept the money must relinquish their claim and cease from gathering in public to demand compensation.
More than 2,000 families locked in a land dispute with the companies in Ampov Prey commune have been gathering in front of the District Hall and Provincial Hall to request a solution.
On November 19, the Provincial Hall issued a statement saying it will distribute between $50 to $100 to each person locked in the dispute.
District Governor Bo Nareth yesterday said about 1,880 have already received money from the authorities and that only ten percent remain as holdouts.
“The working group will continue to deal with the people until Friday,” Mr Nareth said. “We won’t force the money onto them, it’s up to them whether they want to accept it or not.”
Phok Phany, a family representative, said about 500 families have refused to accept the money due to its small amount.
“We can’t accept this resolution. When we were negotiating with the provincial authorities, we agreed on $500 to $700 per person,” Mr Phany said. “But the authorities are now only handing out $100, so we cannot accept it. We ask for renegotiation.”
Kim Rithy, head of a working group tasked to resolve the issue and also the deputy provincial governor, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
However, Mr Nareth has said that there will be no more negotiations between the authorities, the companies and the residents.
Lim Sreytouch, a resident who accepted the money, said yesterday that her family took $400.
Ms Sreytouch said due to her family’s financial situation, she was forced to accept the cash.
“In the past, my parents farmed the land. We didn’t have a land title, but we still farmed,” she said. “So if the authorities are offering $100 per person, then I will thank them because we are poor.”
“Other people accepted it, so I accepted it, too,” she added.