Locals and authorities came to a relocation agreement yesterday after some 100 villagers, representing about 200 families living on a riverbank in Kampong Chhnang province protested on Sunday to demand proper compensation after they were told they must move to pave the way for a garden development.
Touth Sareth, Chung Koh village chief in Phsar Chhnang commune, said the villagers had protested after they were told that they would be given a nearby relocation plot – but would have to pay $3,400 to a company to level it out. The families have lived on the riverbank since 2000 and they have “settlement” documents issued by local authorities, he said.
However, Sun Sovannarith, deputy provincial governor, said yesterday that all of the families were living on state land illegally and didn’t have land titles. He said that after negotiations, all but 10 families had agreed to resettlement packages.
Among the 210 families on the riverbank, 53 have accepted compensation ranging from $700 to $1,300, and have moved out. Another 147 accepted a 5-by-20-square-metre piece of land in a location about 500 metres away from their current homes. Another 10 families still haven’t decided whether they will take the money or the land.
Families that opted for the land will still have to pay $1,000 over a two-year period for a company to level the area and will have to construct new homes out of their own pocket.
“After all the families move out, we will start to work on the garden and a dam” to prevent flooding, he said.