A working group from the Ministry of Environment is inspecting over 10,000ha of land in Mondulkiri province after the provincial administration requested the ministry to create a registry system that would enable the occupants of the land to gain legal title to it.
Environment minister Say Sam Al said in a letter on October 14 that secretary of state So Khan Rithykun has been assigned to lead the working group carrying out the inspections from October 18-22.
The letter said the land in question included a span of 600ha which will be used to address the impact on some villagers of the airport project, which covers more than 1,789ha in Pou Chhop village of O’Raing district’s Dak Dam commune.
The other locations include a span of over 5,075ha located in Pu Lung village of Sen Monorom town’s Romnea commune and another over 5,669ha located in Pu Hoam village of O’Raing district’s Sen Monorom commune.
Four other plots of land unspecified in size are located in Pu Kroch village of Pech Chreada district’s Sre Ampoum commune.
Eng Phirong, a member of the working group, told The Post on October 26 that their mission was not over yet. The group was still working in Mondulkiri and the ministry will announce results once the task is completely finished.
“I have yet to return [to the capital]. I am still on the mission in Mondulkiri and we have yet to finish the job so I cannot give any information yet,” he said.
Provincial environment department director Keo Sopheak told The Post that at the request of the provincial hall, the working group had already inspected two locations but there are still many more locations to be inspected before the ministry makes a decision.
“The ministry will decide and they’ve gone down to see some of the land already. So far, the amount of registered land is very small and there are not many people who are legally occupying it, so to get this registration done will require going door-to-door in the villages and communes,” he said.
Sopheak said portions of the proposed 10,000 ha are already disputed lands between various parties and that was one of the reasons why the ministry needed to inspect and evaluate it first before making a decision.
Mondulkiri provincial hall spokesman Sorn Sarun told The Post on October 26 that the provincial administration requested that the people be granted legal recognition of their rights to the land and that any remaining be developed for ecotourism investment.
He said that the proposed lands are residential and plantation lands without any forest land. The land proposed for eco-tourism investment would not affect the natural environment because those projects involve the preservation of nature.
“Certain areas of the 10,000 ha of land have already had their status resolved. But some places, when we tried to implement solutions it was reported that the land was disputed between this or that person,” he said.
Sarun said that some of the locations are under the jurisdictions of different ministries, so there is also still some need by the relevant ministries to provide their input on the issue.