The government yesterday granted a new relocation site to evicted residents of Preah Vihear province’s Svay Chrum village after more than 100 villagers travelled to the capital for further protests near Wat Botum.
Will Baxter/Phnom Penh Post
Villagers from Preah Vihear province protest outside Wat Botum yesterday in Phnom Penh.
Sao Yat, a representative of the villagers who had been relocated to the nearby Theam Macheat village, said that they had asked to be moved to a 600-x-2,000 metre site next to national road 62, but the government had agreed to allow them to relocate to land about 500 metres away from that site.
“Though the offered area has a lot of forest, the villagers are willing to live on it because the new location is not as far as the one that is 10 kilometres from the national road,” he said.
In late December, the National Authority for Preah Vihear began destroying homes in Choam Ksan district to create space for government offices.
Villagers in the area were ordered to move to Samdech Techo village, which they said lacked proper infrastructure.
The villagers have since protested numerous times in Phnom Penh, calling on Prime Minister Hun Sen to intervene in the dispute.
Suos Yara, deputy secretary of state at the Council of Ministers and vice-president of the national taskforce in the Preah Vihear Temple area, said the government had not been able to offer the villagers the land they requested.
“The plot of land proposed by the villagers next to national road 62 will not be offered because that area is used for mobilising soldiers,” he said.
The agreement was reached after negotiations between the villagers, the national taskforce of the Preah Vihear Temple area and officials from the premier’s cabinet.
Preah Vihear provincial governor Om Mara was not available for comment yesterday.