Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon on Monday created 18 teams to compile and compare data on forests which are occupied by citizens in 24 provinces.
The group’s formation came after Prime Minister Hun Sen last week ordered ministries to accelerate the release of ownership documents for citizens living on state land.
“The responsibility of the 18 teams is to cooperate with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in each province to collect data and compile existing ones related to logging.
“The teams must compile and compare data of forest land occupied by citizens and submit a report to the General Secretariat of the National Committee,” Sakhon said.
Ministry secretary of state Chan Heng declined to comment and referred The Post to ministry spokesman Srey Vuthy. However, he could not be reached.
On July 3, during a Council of Ministers meeting, Hun Sen ordered Sakhon and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng to give land to citizens who have lived in protected areas like Koh Kong and Preah Vihear provinces for at least 10 years.
Hun Sen said: “The state has land only on the map. Our citizens have settled on some of the lands for years. This is about fixing a concern for citizens.”
He said he didn’t want citizens to live in fear or hunger, which may cause them to migrate to other countries.
Hun Sen also called for citizens to stop encroaching on state land and emphasised protecting the forest for the sake of the community.
He ordered Sakhon and Sar Kheng to solve the problems within several months. They have to release ownership certificates to citizens and must be very thorough with the work, he said.