Ten former Borei Keila residents who were relocated to a site in Kandal province’s Ponhea Leu district known as Phnom Bat filed a petition with the Ministry of Land Management yesterday requesting they either be given $5,000 and moved back to Phnom Penh or be given $10,000 in additional compensation.
The 10 were among 110 families moved to Phnom Bat in 2012 following a violent eviction that made way for development by Phan Imex. At the time, the company had promised them land, equipment, food and compensation.
The petition claims that since relocating, the families have lost their jobs and been forced to live without water, schools, hospitals or markets, and that there is no arable land nearby to grow their own food.
Nuon Yean, one of the 10 petitioners, described a dire living situation in Phnom Bat.
“In Phnom Penh we can sell water spinach or find other work to earn a living, but in Phnom Bat there is nothing to eat. We have to ask for rice from the monks at the pagoda . . . Sometimes the house is flooded and shakes in the wind.”
Another representative, Kem Saran, said previous petitions to the Council of Ministers, Phnom Penh City Hall and the National Assembly all went unanswered.
Land Management Ministry deputy director of administration Ol Sok Yos yesterday promised to pass the petition on to his superiors.
Licadho coordinator Um Sam Ath yesterday urged the government to take action.
“If people live in difficulty, the government must find a solution,” Sam Ath said. “The government offered the land to the company to develop, and that affects [the people’s] living standards today.”
Phan Imex could not be reached for comment.