Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Pursat mulls families’ claims to state land

Pursat mulls families’ claims to state land

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Pursat Provincial Administration said on February 16 that the 20 families had occupied the land and relied on it for their livelihoods in O’Som commune’s Chhay Lok village of Veal Veng district. PURSAT PROVINCIAL ADMINISTION

Pursat mulls families’ claims to state land

The Pursat Provincial Administration is reviewing a decision made by the provincial land management committee, following a request from 20 families. The decision concerns 37.5ha of land in O’Som commune’s Chhay Lok village of Veal Veng district.

Provincial governor Cheav Tay said on February 21 that he had instructed the administration and a working group to investigate the situation.

“This is something we need to resolve as quickly as possible. Once a report of the inspection is submitted to me, I will schedule a meeting to discuss this,” he said.

The provincial administration said on February 16 that the 20 families had occupied the land and relied on it for their livelihoods. The provincial environment department had intended to reclaim the land as state property.

O’Som commune chief Sok Boeun said on February 21 that the people have lived there for a long time, although he could not remember exactly when they had moved onto the land. They had grown various crops such as potatoes, jackfruit, bananas and durian.

“When I pass by, I can tell they have been there for years. I don’t know exactly how many, but a long time,” he added.

The Post could not contact any representative of the 20 families on February 21. But Van Saman, chief of Chhay Lok village, said the people have used the land since 2007. In the last three years or so, environmental officials have stopped them from continuing to do so.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The provincial environment department had intended to reclaim the land as state property. PURSAT PROVINCIAL ADMINISTION

She added that the people had asked permission to continue to use the land to earn their livelihoods because it is close to the village.

“Now they do not farm anything on the land. They do not dare, because they are afraid they will be punished by the officials,” she said.

Provincial environment department director Kong Puthyra said on February 21 that the site was originally forested, and that nobody knew where the families had come from. They had secretly encroached on the forest land, and environment officials evicted them from the land.

“They cleared the forest. We followed procedure and built a case file which was submitted to the provincial court prosecutor,” he said.

He added that it was right for the governor to set up a working group to look into any problems in the province, but that allocating state land to anybody was outside of his jurisdiction.

“We will investigate the situation and make a request to the government or Ministry of Interior to resolve this issue,” he said.

Puthyra added that if the people really had no land of their own and relied on the disputed land to make their livings, then the problem would be easy to solve. The main problem, he said, was that there were people coming from outside the area that caused problems. This created additional complexity, he said.


  • 12th Cambodia int’l film festival to see return of Hollywood star

    Phnom Penh is set to come alive with the magic of cinema as the highly anticipated 12th Cambodia International Film Festival (CIFF) takes centre stage. Boasting an impressive line-up of 188 films from 23 countries, including captivating shorts, feature films, documentaries and animation, the festival promises an

  • Bareknuckle champion wants Kun Khmer fighter

    Dave Leduc, who is the current openweight Lethwei boxing champion in Myanmar, has announced that he will travel to Cambodia this year to challenge SEA Games gold medallist Prum Samnang any time that is convenient, after their planned match later this month in Slovakia was

  • Struggling Battambang artist dreams of staging full-scale gallery exhibition

    Leav Kimchhoth, a 55-year-old artist from Battambang province, is a familiar face to locals and tourists alike on the streets of the riverside in Phnom Penh. The one-armed painter and illustrator often hawks his work near the night market on weekends and public holidays. He

  • Fresh Covid warnings as Thai hospital fills

    A senior health official reminds the public to remain vigilant, as neighbouring countries experience an increase in Covid-19 cases, with the latest surge appearing to be a result of the Omicron XBB.1.5 sub-variant. Or Vandine, secretary of state and spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health,

  • New Law on Taxation comes into effect

    Cambodia has enacted the eagerly-awaited new Law on Taxation, which aims to improve the national tax regime’s compliance with present and future international standards and economic conditions; encourage accountability, effectiveness and transparency in the collection process; and promote investment in the Kingdom. King Norodom

  • Five-year-old Hanuman dances his way into hearts of Cambodia

    A young talent from a new-established settlement has emerged, captivating the online world with his mesmerising performances of the traditional Cambodian monkey dance. Roeun Kakada is a five-year-old prodigy who has taken the social media sphere by storm with his exceptional dance skills and dedication