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‘Anarchic’ cottage residents agree to relocate willingly

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Preah Sihanouk authorities have demolished 45 homes built on state land after providing residents with social land concessions. FACEBOOK

‘Anarchic’ cottage residents agree to relocate willingly

Forty-five families from Commune IV in Preah Sihanouk province’s Mittapheap district on Thursday said they would willingly dismantle their makeshift homes and relocate in exchange for 5m by 20m plots of land in Kbal Chhay district.

Preah Sihanouk provincial and municipal authorities said that it was necessary for the residents of the area to move as their homes had encroached on public pavements, causing congestion.

Their presence had prevented the roads from being widened to ease the rapidly developing city’s traffic woes.

“It was an anarchic location that had long affected order in the city.

“Provincial authorities in cooperation with municipal authorities will help transport their dismantled homes to the new location. They agreed to voluntarily dismantle their homes … without any clashes or violence,” Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesman Kheang Phearum told The Post on Thursday.

Last month, authorities demolished several buildings that had encroached on public pavements in order to widen the streets.

They had urged local residents not to rebuild the structures as they had become a public nuisance, with two Chinese nationals ultimately being taken to court over the matter.

The 45 families were originally among 107 evicted from Commune IV in 2007 following a land dispute when two people, Ngor Srun and Srey Phoeng Ravy, claimed they had illegally occupied their land.

The 107 families moved onto the pavements in protest.

Sixty-two of them later accepted social land concessions in Preah Sihanouk province’s Stung Hav district.

However, the 45 who agreed to move to Kbal Chhay on Thursday held out, refusing to move to Stung Hav as they said the area had no electricity, hospitals or schools.

Cheap Sotheary, Preah Sihanouk provincial coordinator for human rights group Adhoc, said that despite having volunteered to move to Kbal Chhay, the 45 families were continuing to protest.

“This is not a land dispute resolution at all as the authorities have the responsibility to offer citizens appropriate places to live as well as keep the roads clean and orderly.

“Provincial authorities helped residents as they did not have anywhere to live; however, people still continue to protest over the land.”

A representative for the 45 families could not be reached by The Post on Thursday for comment.

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