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Government receives more than 2,000 land dispute cases in 2019

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Villagers from Kampong Speu’s Oral district protest at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction in April. Heng Chivoan

Government receives more than 2,000 land dispute cases in 2019

In the course of a year, the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction along with the National Authority for Land Dispute Resolution (NALDR) received a combined total of 2,713 complaints of land disputes, of which 1,871 are under review.

Of the total, the ministry received 817 land dispute complaints. Eighty-one cases were solved and 24 referred to relevant authorities, while the remaining are yet to be investigated, said the ministry’s annual report obtained by The Post on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, NALDR had received 1,896 cases and solved 1,766 cases. Two cases had been referred to the relevant authorities while the remaining 128 are still under review.

The report said a mechanism for an out-of-court settlement for land disputes had been set up to solve issues related to immovable properties, which are yet to be registered at the Department of Cadastre and Geography.

The Cadastral Committee had received a total of 290 cases, with 238 forwarded by the administrative committee, to be solved in line with the land dispute mechanism. Of those, 169 cases covering a total of 130.5ha and affecting 723 families had been solved.

Ninety-five cases were rejected by the committee as they were beyond its capacity, while 30 were withdrawn by the complainants.

Mobile groups for NALDR in cities and districts had solved 141 cases, rejected 89 and forwarded 41 to the provincial Cadastral Committee, while 22 had been withdrawn.

Neither ministry spokesman Seng Lot nor Lor Davuth, the director-general of the Land Management Ministry’s General Department of Land, could be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Kandal provincial governor Mao Phearun said on Tuesday that although he doesn’t recall all the land dispute cases in his province, he was aware that the relevant authorities had already solved them.

He expected that the province will no longer have long-running land disputes by next year or the year after.

“We have solved most of the long-running land disputes in the province. Next year, we will solve the remaining disputes completely and start working on new issues,” he said.

Phav Nhoeurng, a representative for 75 families in Koh Kong province’s Sre Ambel district who had been embroiled in a land dispute, said her group had already received compensation but not a land title.

At present, the authorities are planting markers to set the land boundaries and watching over her group’s activities.

“We’ve acquired the land. The authorities are marking land boundaries but they’re very slow. The government-granted land, which is far from villages, has yet to have access roads.

“We would like the authorities to help build roads and stop threatening residents because we are not doing anything illegal,” she said.

While rights group Adhoc investigator Soeung Sen Karuna acknowledged the government’s efforts in solving land dispute cases, he urged the relevant authorities to check other economic land concession cases as well.

He also said local officials had failed to effectively resolve some land disputes as they were afraid of the powerful parties involved. Instead, the cases were forwarded to the senior leadership or the ministry.

“We hope all the issues can be solved completely so protracted investigations would be avoided. If residents have disputes, they usually rely on solutions provided by the authorities.

“So the authorities must do whatever they can to solve the cases and not let residents wait for years for a solution,” said Sen Karuna.

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