After seeing a signing ceremony interrupted by protesters on Tuesday, officials from the joint committee for Borei Keila housing solutions yesterday inked compensation deals with 32 out of 56 evicted families.
The recipients were eligible to get $3,000 or a choice of $5,000 or alternative housing in Andong village, 13 kilometres away, depending on the strength of their claim. But though they agreed to take the money, many of them were unhappy, saying they “have no other choice”.
“I know that $5,000 cannot be used to purchase a house or flat to live happily and comfortably,” said Ouch Bunseng, 29, who decided to take the cash. The alternate housing offered would have had an area of 4 by 5.5 metres and be located far from his job.
Yi Pov, another former Borei Keila resident, had the same reaction. “How can I be happy? In the past, the state ordered the company to build the 10th building for us, but now, if we do not take this, we will get nothing. Moreover, if we protest, the authorities would jail us,” she said.
However, a few people, such as En Sreymon, 35, were content with the compensation, saying they didn’t think they’d even get that much.
In the initial 2012 eviction, hundreds of families were driven from the area, with the Phanimex company promising to construct 10 buildings to house them. Only eight were ever built.
Sia Phearum, a member of the committee, said that eight tents in Borei Keila, belonging to people who accepted the money, were pulled down.