MORE than 100 residents facing eviction as part of the controversial Boeung Kak lake project marched in front of the offices of the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) on Wednesday, only to have their written complaint rejected.
An official with the CDC, an investment board with the power to approve large development projects, told residents that the body had yet to receive a master plan for the Boeung Kak project, which could lead to the eviction of roughly 4,000 families.
Residents became alarmed after City Hall officials announced last month that they had approved development plans for the project, which they said they would send to the CDC for final approval.
Duy Thov, deputy secretary general of the CDC, told the Post Wednesday that the organisation had not seen any development plans for Boeung Kak.
“I have not received it yet, so I cannot make any comment,” he said.
Pa Socheatvong, the deputy governor of Phnom Penh, declined to comment at length about the project, saying that City Hall “still needs time to discuss the master plan” with the CDC.
Residents on Wednesday continued their push for land titles.
“We want the government to remove our houses from the development plan and issue legal land titles for us because we have lived a long time here – before the development began,” said Ing Navy, a representative of the residents. “We are not living in anarchy or in temporary resettlements.”
Most of the 4,000 families have been left in limbo ever since the city agreed to lease the 133-hectare site to Shukaku Inc, a private company run by Lao Meng Khin, a senator with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, as part of a long-term lease in 2007.
Since then, official details on the development have been scarce, even as large swathes of the lake have been filled in with sand.
Authorities have declined to reveal basic information, such as the project’s costs or its construction timeline, leaving residents to speculate about whether and when they will be removed.
Housing advocates say the government’s actions are illegal, and that residents should be awarded land titles because they have rights to the land under the 2001 Land Law. Authorities, on the other hand, say that the land is owned by the state.