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Rubber firm accused of grabbing land

ETHNIC Phnong villagers in Mondulkiri province yesterday accused a local development company of clearing more than 2,000 hectares of communal land in Pech Chreada district’s Krang Tes commune without their permission.

Kteas Teunh, a village representative, said DTC Group began clearing the land in early December to make way for a rubber plantation, a development that has displaced 112 families so far.

He said villagers last month filed a complaint to district officials, who were currently in the process of measuring out land for the villagers – a solution he described as “unacceptable”.

“Our community was recognised by the Ministry of Interior in November 2010 and land is reserved for us to register for a communal land title,” he said. “We don’t want measurement”.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture’s website, DTC Group signed a 70-year contract with the ministry in March 2009 to develop 4,000 hectares of land for rubber plantations in Pou Chrei, Krang Tes and Sre Ampoum communes, all in Pech Chreada district.

District governor Nuon Saron said yesterday that the development did not affect communal land in Krang Tes village.

He said the disputed area was “not reserved land for the villagers, but state forest land”.

“We have reserved land for them at the north side and the company’s land is at the south side,” he said.

DTC Group representatives could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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