The provincial administration and the Department of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction in Mondulkiri province planted 53 stone markers around the Doh Kramom mountain area to protect it from any further encroachments.
But the indigenous community claimed that the planting of markers, which was done from December 5-6, did not follow Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order when he ordered the return of encroached land in the mountain area as state property.
There was also a government directive issued in 2004, which had designated 102ha from the foot of the mountain to the top for the Cultural Centre for Indigenous People.
Doh Kramom mountain indigenous community representative Kroeung Tola told The Post on Friday that 20 community members and representatives from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts had visited the site in the mountain area to witness the planting of markers.
But they voiced their objection and walked away from the site after seeing the marker planting was not done properly following the government’s directive and could affect the land’s registration as state property.
“The GPS planting of markers was only carried out on 85ha of land. But taking Samdech’s [Hun Sen] order and the government directive in 2004 as a basis, the land area to be taken back as state property should be 102ha,” Tola said.
Tola stressed that the marker planting did not include land plots that were encroached by 86 families on the mountain.
He said there was also the issue of retention of the land by the provincial departments of the ministries of Water Resources and Meteorology; Mines and Energy, and Industry and Handicraft for establishing offices.
He claimed that the community is preparing a letter for submission to Hun Sen, requesting him to intervene and have 102ha of land in the Doh Kramom mountain area returned as state property.
Mondulkiri provincial deputy governor Chhim Kan said the planting of the markers came after an agreement was made at an inter-ministerial meeting and in another statement released by the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction.
The statement had registered the protected mountain area before, but the land in question was left for later discussions to find a solution.
Kan said the planting of the markers is to prepare the Doh Kramom mountain’s land registration at the request of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.
Mondulkiri provincial Department of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction director Mao Chamroeun said the land reserved for the three ministries to establish offices had been revoked.
He said the planting of the markers was to prevent any further land grabbing. It doesn’t mean [the authorities] will not seek a solution to revoke land that had previously been grabbed.
“We have not resolved [the problem] completely. We planted the markers to measure the land which we could secure for now. This is the first step for registration [as state property]. We are afraid the land could be further encroached on,” he said.