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ELCs to be taken from firms that break rules

Companies that transfer their land holdings to another firm in violation of government policy will have their concessions stripped from them, the Agriculture Ministry has said.

But the ministry added that in such an event a “partner” firm may be sought to develop the offender’s economic land concession (ELC), providing a potential loophole to any crackdowns on abuses of the law.

If a company is found to have violated the rules, the ministry will seize the land with the aim of converting it into a social land concession – land which is allocated to the poor, landless and veterans.

“If a company cannot implement [its development agreement], the state will seize the land. However, the government will allow companies to find partners in order to develop the concession land,” the statement said.

In July, Hun Sen ordered all government agencies to clampdown on abuses at ELC sites, calling for arrests and fines.

In May 2012, Prime Minister Hun Sen declared a moratorium on the granting of new ELCs and an audit of the existing ones following widespread condemnation by rights groups of documented abuses and displacement of villagers, illegal logging and other forms of environmental degradation.

Eang Sophalleth, a spokesman and under-secretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, said recent incidences of companies transferring land illegally had prompted the ministry to issue the statement.

The executive director of the NGO Forum, Tek Vannara, said that while some companies had followed their investment agreements to the letter, many had had a devastating impact on the environment and local livelihoods.

“There should be clear conditions about the use of the land and abiding by government policy,” he said.



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Asok's picture

ELCs policy is the major policy that cause CPP to lose many people inside and outside Cambodia. Many people in Cambodia and outside Cambodia are willing to support CPP for govern of Cambodia if the government abolish ELCs policy. Abolish the ELCs allow ordinary citizen to buy the land in small plot size allocated by the government yearly and subside the poor without land or house to lower price. Oversea Cambodian and many Cambodian inside Cambodia understand the border issue with Vietnam is unreal or minor problem with little Cambodia territory at risk. And corruption can be change over time as the country mature toward democracy. But ELCs leasing Cambodian national land for free for 99 years is unacceptable for many Cambodian. As for me and many people like me are willing to support CPP but under one condition abandon the ELCs policy. Why the government give free land to the riches and foreigners, when ordinary Cambodian struggling to buy a small piece of land to live in. Abolish ELCs policy is good for Cambodian people and good for CPP and make CNRP lost popular support.

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