Thirty families in Dangkor district’s Andong village protested against attempts by local authorities to demolish their temporary housing yesterday.
Protester Sok Voeurn, 41, said that Andong village and Kouk Roka commune authorities came to dismantle their wooden homes, made with leaf and fabric walls, in order to build new brick homes for which the residents would have to pay a monthly rent of 96,000 riel (US$23) for five years to assume ownership.
“Right now my family is miserable with almost no rice to eat, so how will I repay them? If I dismantle my cottage, what will happen when I do not have money for the brick house?”
Yean Nov, a commune officer, said the rebuilding is aimed at improving order and security but acknowledged the plight of the residents and said, if needed, that they can repay the authority when possible and extend the payment period beyond five years.
However, some residents, such as Yin Tharoth and his family, who agreed to dismantle their home in 2009, are still waiting to be permanently settled.
“Now, I rent a home temporarily awaiting an announcement from the authority to fulfill its promise of a home,” he said.
Sia Phearum, secretariat director of the Housing Rights Task Force, welcomed the plan to beautify the village but said the authority should consider additional makeshift shelters for villagers waiting for their new homes.
Residents at the relocation site were removed by force from Sambok Chab in Phnom Penh in June 2006 by authorities on behalf of local developer, Sour Srun Enterprises, who bulldozed the area for a development project.