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Time’s up for T85 residents

Time’s up for T85 residents

Siya Nythea, a resident threatened with eviction from T85 in Chamkarmon district, hangs laundry out to dry beside her home yesterday.

18 families seeking higher compensation for land they are living on in Chamkarmon district’s Tonle Bassac commune must leave the area by tomorrow to make way for a private company that purchased the land in 1991, officials said yesterday.

Commune governor Khath Narin said the commune had issued a notice on Tuesday setting a deadline for families living on a parcel of land known as T85 to accept compensation from the Thai Boon Roong Company by December 30.

He said only four out of 22 families had abided by a Council of Ministers order in September that instructed remaining families to reach a compromise with the company.

“Those who fail to abide by [the deadline], the company will handle or buy their houses according to the Council of Ministers’ announcement,” Khath Narin said.

In September, the Council of Ministers ordered families to either accept US$400 per square metre of land from the company, or resettle on land provided by the firm in Dangkor district.

Asked what measures authorities would take if families refused to abide by the deadline, Khath Narin declined to comment. “The former T85 area legally belongs to the Thai Boon Roong Company,” he said.

According to documents from district authorities this month, only 18 of the original 499 families are still living in the area.

Syani Thea, a representative of families living in what is now called Village 8 in the commune, said residents would not compromise because the company  had offered only between US$600 and $700 per square metre of land.

Syani Thea added that the remaining families had agreed only to sell land for US$1,700 per square metre.

“We will agree to move our houses from this place if the company buys our land within the current market value in this area,” she said.

“We will protest against the company or authorities if we are forcibly evicted from our houses.”

Khun Bunsoeun, a representative of the Thai Boon Roong Company, told the Post the firm could not buy land at the price residents were demanding because the figure was too high and the land belonged to the company.

“They have illegally lived on our company’s land,” he said.

Khun Bunsoeun said  the company had purchased the land from the Defence Ministry for $1 million in 1991, before people began building houses on it in 1993.

“Our company has never intimidated and threatened villagers to sell the land to us,” he said.

“We are still looking forward to meeting with remaining villagers to negotiate about the land price in accordance with the announcement of the Council of Ministers.”

Municipal governor Kep Chuktema could not be reached for comment.