Siem Reap provincial administration director Sok Thol said on Sunday that provincial authorities were preparing a working group to update veterans’ social land concessions in Khnar Sandai and Khun Ream communes in Banteay Srei district.
Thol said in 2017, the government issued sub-decree No 33 to cut 1,369ha for the Cambodia Veteran Association (CVA) in Siem Reap province to distribute to about 313 families of homeless veterans. The sub-decree was meant to assist about 6,500 people.
“In the past, the CVA cut 385ha to provide 150 veterans [with a way] to earn a living. But the remaining land has been invaded for farming by some people,” he said.
Thol said on July 24, provincial authorities held a meeting with the CVA to find a solution for the veterans as soon as possible.
At the meeting, CVA vice-president and secretary-general Kun Kim called on everyone illegally occupying the land, including the families of some soldiers, to return it to the association.
Sin Phorn, the commander of a sub-region military group in Siem Reap and president of the provincial CVA, told The Post that the association would take legal action against anyone who doesn’t comply.
“We want them [citizens and the army who encroached on the CVA land to be vigilant and responsible for their activities. It’s better for them to return the land they are illegally occupying to our association peacefully, rather than being forced by administrative action,” he said.
Phorn said the association and working groups of provincial and district authorities are coordinating to find a solution.
If it’s discovered that military families who have been living and earning a living on the veterans’ social land concessions are poor, then a solution will be found for them according to State policy.
Banteay Srei district governor Khim Finan told The Post that “there will be some negative impacts during the update and the return of the land. But if we do not hurry and do it now, the invasion will be more complicated.”
He confirmed that according to a survey of the district working group, ordinary people, as well as military families have encroached on the land.
Some of the military families settled on up to 5ha of land, Finan said.