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Blind slum residents call for more compensation

Blind slum residents call for more compensation

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The beneficiaries of a special compensation package say they want their benefits extended to every family at Dey Krahorm.

Photo by:

Tracey Shelton

Two young Dey Krahorm residents at their house in the central Phnom Penh community last week.

THE blind musicians and former Dey Krahorm residents who have received new houses under a municipal relocation program with local developer 7NG have called on the government to offer more compensation to people still embroiled in the dispute.

Kong Nai, 62, a traditional chapei musician and singer, said that the company had finally agreed to pay $52,000 for his beloved home in Boeung Tumpun commune in Meanchey district.

He said he had moved into the new house on Monday, adding that only he and another blind musician, Neth Pe, have so far been prioritised to receive the house of their choice.

Kong Nai said an additional sum of $5,000 was also given to his family following the move.

"We are happy with what we have now because the house we will move into is acceptable," he said, but expressed regrets for the remaining residents, who have not agreed to the $20,000 offered by 7NG and City Hall as compensation for leaving their land.

"We pity them because $20,000 is a small amount to buy a new home," he said.

"I want the governor of Phnom Penh and 7NG to consider an increase in compensation for them, even if it is not as high as my family's."

Dey Krahorm representative Chan Vichet said he was happy that the blind musicians had received fair compensation from 7NG, but added that the amounts offered to the rest of Dey Krahorm's residents had led them to submit a new letter to City Hall again requesting negotiations over the compensation figures - the second such request made by the community.

"The municipality promised to negotiate with us on Friday, but they cancelled - that is why we submitted another letter," Chan Vichet said.

He said that until now, nine families had agreed to accept the government's offer of $20,000, plus a supplementary sum of 777,700 riels.

Srey Sothea, an adviser for 7NG, said the company and the municipality always found ways to avoid violence and accommodate residents' demands.

"We always increase the price, but when we offer them $20,000, they start wanting $30,000 or $40,000. If we offer them $40,000, they will want up to $100,000," he said.

"We cannot follow the demands. We have limited finances."