Representatives of the indigenous community in Mondulkiri province on Wednesday submitted three petitions to voice their objection against the planting of stone markers around the Doh Kramom mountain area by provincial officials last week.
However, provincial officials said the case is still under review.
A petition was submitted to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts while two others were submitted to the provincial governor and the provincial Department of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction.
All petitions expressed their opposition to the setting of stone markers around the area from December 5-6, which was witnessed by some members of the indigenous community and representatives of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.
Located in the province’s Sen Monorom town, Doh Kramom mountain is home to the Cultural Centre for Indigenous People. A government directive issued in 2004 designated 102ha from the foot of the mountain to the top for the centre.
However, representatives of the indigenous community last week said the planting of markers was only carried out on 85ha of land.
“Members of the indigenous community would like to announce their stance against the planting of boundary markers, No 42 to 50. The markers were not planted properly by the specialist officials and so failed to protect the centre completely,” the petition said.
The petitions said officials failed to mark two private properties of an old woman named Mao and lawyer Chheang Makara, offices of the Department of Industry and Handicraft, Department of Public Functions, the Centre for Minerals, Energy and Petroleum Research, and the private Ki Mich Construction Company.
Indigenous community representative Kroeung Tola told The Post on Thursday that the said locations had encroached on 5ha belonging to the cultural centre.
“Please kindly check the results of the land measurement and marker planting. We request intervention by Samdech [Hun Sen] so that he will revoke the recent marker planting and return the land to the Cultural Centre for Indigenous People.
“This land should be protected to preserve the nation’s cultural diversity and natural wealth. The land will surely be registered as a World Heritage Site,” he said.
Mondulkiri provincial hall spokesman Sok Sera confirmed receipt of the petitions but denied their allegations. He said the work of planting boundary markers along the land of the Cultural Centre is yet to be finalised and still under review.
“I don’t know what the results will be because the GPS planting of markers is still at its initial stage, after which a map will be made. They will hold further discussions.
“When they saw us planting the markers, they said that we did wrong. It is their right. But once the planting of markers is done, we will call both sides for discussions,” assured Sera.
He admitted that the planting of markers on only 85ha was contrary to the prime minister’s previous directive, but stressed that once the marking of boundaries is done, the provincial authorities will build roads surrounding the area to prevent further encroachment on the land.
Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts spokesman Long Ponnasirivath told The Post that the ministry would keep a close eye on the issue as it has participated in the protection of the centre for a long time.