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Airport annex may displace villagers

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Preah Sihanouk Governor Yun Min informs families living in the vicinity of the province’s Kang Keng airport about a potential relocation as the government plans to expand it. Photo supplied

Airport annex may displace villagers

Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Yun Min has informed 62 families living in the vicinity of the province’s Kang Keng airport about a potential relocation as the government plans to expand it.

During a meeting with the villagers in Prey Nop district’s Ream commune on Monday, Min said living close to the airport affects the Kingdom’s image and the government’s plan to turn it into an international airport.

Provincial hall spokesperson Or Saroeun told The Post on Wednesday that theprocess is still at an early stage. He said provincial authority has yet to decide on compensation for the villagers’ relocation.

“We have to conduct a study first. Villagers have requested market prices for their land if the government relocates them."

“We cannot give them an answer yet because we need to consult and get approval from the government before making a decision,” he said.

Saroeun said provincial authority plans to relocate the villagers to a new place about 2km away from their current home. He said besides access to water, electricity, and other infrastructure, each family would be offered a 375sqm plot with valid titles.

However, the 62 families have ruled out relocating to a new place without proper compensation.

Lam Va, one of the affected villagers who attended Monday’s meeting, said villagers opposed relocation and would accept only financial compensation.

“We rejected their request because we have been living in the area since 1980. The proposed relocation site is more than 2km away. It’s unacceptable."

“We’ve requested financial compensation based on the market value of land in the province,” he said.

Va said that more than 60 families lived in 52 houses on a 1ha area.

Sun Sophat, a community land representative in the province, said the authority should provide access to water, electricity and other infrastructure for the villagers as they have lived in the area legally since 1980.

“I urge the provincial authority to find a proper location near a market and with access to suitable infrastructure for them because they have lived in the area legally for a long time,” he said.

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