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Dam villagers demand titles

Villagers from Svay Chrum district protest in front of the provincial hall in Svay Rieng yesterday after they filed a petition
Villagers from Svay Chrum district protest in front of the provincial hall in Svay Rieng yesterday after they filed a petition. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Dam villagers demand titles

Fearing loss of land, about 150 farmers in Svay Rieng province yesterday marched to the provincial hall, filing a petition that demands land titles on their property.

Many villagers in Svay Chrum district’s Chhoeuteal commune lost parts of their property in 2011, when a dam was built there. The next year, authorities issued land titles to people living in the upper-dam area, but have not granted titles to those in the lower-dam area, said community activist In Sot.

“We demand the land titles and ask the provincial authorities to give the key to the local authorities to open the water gate to make it easier to irrigate our farmland,” Sot said.

After the two-hour gathering, Svay Rieng deputy provincial governor Ou Vatanak invited four representatives to speak with him about their concerns, where he promised a speedy solution to the dispute.

Vatanak could not be reached yesterday.

Provincial Hall official Phok Yin said authorities are already looking into the issue. Yin serves as deputy director of the committee for the analysis.

“We have created a working group to go to the disputed location and will seek a resolution for people soon,” Yin said.

Those who measure land and grant titles have discriminated against people in the lower dam are since 2012, ignoring numerous requests for land titles, said Theng Saroeun, coordinator of Coalition of Cambodia Farmers Community.

“We hope there will be the resolution and offer land titles to people in the near future,” Saroeun said.

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