The occupants of 90 Phnom Penh households whose homes were partially or completely dismantled to make way for the Railway Rehabilitation Project partly funded by the ADB have demanded the bank offer them fair compensation.
In a letter submitted to the Inter-Ministerial Resettlement Committee, the ADB, the National Assembly and the Ministry of Economy and Finance yesterday, the villagers argued they had been unfairly locked out of compensation due to technicalities despite valid claims.
Luy Im, a representative of 23 complainants from Toul Sangke A, said she received only $100 in compensation after the front of her house was destroyed in 2011 to accommodate the works.
“I need more compensation, but I don’t know how much. I spent a lot of money to repair my house since the front of my house was demolished when they expanded the railway,” she said.
Im said she went into significant debt making the repairs.
The complainants, who include six households from Phum III and 65 from Tapeang Anhchanh, want the IRC to intervene because their compensation requests through one avenue of the ADB’s accountability mechanism have been rejected on the grounds that they were accepted via another.
In other words, receiving limited compensation disqualified them from the larger sums other households have received.
It was unreasonable to expect that villagers could be aware of such complex technicalities, said Nora Lindstrom, program development manager at NGO Sahmakum Teang Tnaut.
“That raises the question of how are the villagers ever going to do this, how are they meant to know this type of stuff?” she said.
ADB country director Eric Sidgwick said in an email that the bank’s Compliance Review Panel was “reviewing resettlement issues including those related to compensation”.
“In the meantime, the households represented in the three letters received today have been advised to present their complaints through the Project’s Grievance Redress Mechanism,” he wrote.
“The OSPF has informed the IRC of the nature of the complaints and recommended that they review them in a similar fashion as was done in the earlier OSPF process.”