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‘Viable’ Boeung Kak option floated

‘Viable’ Boeung Kak option floated

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An aerial view of the filled-in Boeung Kak lake in April. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

More than enough vacant plots exist within Boeung Kak lake’s 12.44-hectare concession area to house those denied land permits, a new NGO report says.

Sahmakum Teang Tnaut claims to have found “a viable and practical” solution for households excluded from the unmarked land the prime minister promised the community in August – and residents and other NGOs have welcomed it.

According to Outside the Lines: Households Excluded From 12.44Ha Boeung Kak Concession, the NGO has mapped the area based on boundaries outlined in the relevant sub-decree.

“We identified 70 households that appear to be excluded from the concession area, as well as 401 vacated plots within the 12.44 hectares,” STT programs coordinator Ee Sarom said. “Our report shows it would be eminently possible to allocate land for the excluded households within the concession.”

The report states that the 401 plots make up 17 per cent of the concession.

“[This] indicates households excluded from the 12.44 [hectare] concession could be given a vacant plot within it,” it states.

The findings are part of a solution STT hopes could end the Boeung Kak dispute, which has been raging since 2007, when a 99-year lease of the land was awarded to CPP senator Lao Meng Khin’s Shukaku company.

STT’s report also suggests changing the boundary of the concession area slightly.

The proposals have won support from villagers, including Heng Mom, one of 13 women released from Prey Sar prison last week after being jailed for protesting on May 22.

“We asked the Phnom Penh municipal authority to exchange our land plots when they claimed our house was on Shukaku’s land,” she said, adding she still wanted this.

Doung Kea, 43, a resident of Village 22, said the 12.44 hectares was a “gift” from Hun Sen that villagers had a right to.

“So if the authority is still claiming our houses are not in that area, they should move us into the 12.44 hectares,” he said.

Villager Chan Puthi Sak described the proposal as a “win-win” solution. A coalition of NGOs also supported it.

“[This] proposal is a viable option as a solution for part of the Boeung Kak land dispute,” Housing Rights Task Force’s Sia Phearum said.

The municipal authority declined to comment.

To contact the reporters on this story: Shane Worrell at [email protected]
Khouth Sophak Chakrya at [email protected]

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