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Families allocated plots of land at Kep national park

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Kep provincial authorities inspected the actual land in Kep national park in 2020. Kep Administration

Families allocated plots of land at Kep national park

The Kep Provincial Administration and the Ministry of Environment have marked out 275 plots of land covering 176ha as they prepare to allocate the plots to families in the region of Kep National Park who have been occupying the land and relying on it for their livelihoods.

Kep provincial governor Som Piseth told The Post on January 27 that after the provincial administration and the environment ministry had examined more than 400 requests for land they made a preliminary report showing that there were crops or buildings covering 176ha of the land in that area.

He said the ministry and the provincial administration have cooperated to carry out this work in every detail and that they had inspected the site at least 10 times since July 2020.

He explained that in order to address the requests a meeting with provincial and environmental officials had been held. The meeting examined official documents and confirmed the identities of those making the requests and determined the locations of their plots with the help of GPS data and drone footage.

He said some of the plots that were identified were not allocated as requested because they were very steep and unsuitable for habitation or they encroached into Kep National Park, but they were able to accommodate those cases with alternate plots of land.

“We granted some people 100 per cent of their requested plots and some we granted just a portion of what they requested. It was all done in a practical manner according to the actual situation on the ground there.

“Most of them were settled there and have been growing crops since 1994-1995 and they had chicken-wing cards [a common nickname for the old land title cards] from back before the land law was made,” he said.

Piseth added that the report will be sent to Prime Minister Hun Sen for review and approval.

Yun Phally, Kep-Kampot provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said he had yet to receive information regarding the inspection of this location but normally if land is measured or allocated that affects other people’s crops they can lodge a complaint against it.

Phally added that he would go there in person to search for information regarding the land allocations to make sure that everything was done according to the law and with the approval of the community there.

The Kep National Park covers 5,000ha near the coast in Kep province. The late King Father Norodom Sihanouk signed a royal decree designating the land as a national park on November 1, 1993.

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