Lakeside families seek relocation site

Photo by: AFP
A resident of a community next to Boeung Kak lake mixes ingredients to prepare a popular shellfish snack on Monday.

AGROUP of 13 families due to be evicted by month’s end from Boeung Kak I commune in Tuol Kork district demonstrated on Monday in front of district headquarters to demand more compensation and a commitment from the government to a definitive relocation site.

Community representative Im Veasna said residents last month agreed to pull down their homes and relocate by the end of January in exchange for a 4.8-metre-by-12-metre plot of land and 1 million riels (US$239). Following a tour of two potential relocation sites, however, residents became concerned about the terms of the agreement.

“We visited two potential sites: one in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, about 15 kilometres from Boeung Kak I, and the other about 25 kilometres away in Kandal province’s Ponhea Leu district,” Im Veasna said.

“We are protesting today to demand that the authorities tell us exactly where we are going. And we also propose that they give us 10 million riels per family.”

Resident Him Sokary said the condition of Boeung Kak I’s existing homes justified the proposed compensation hikes.

“Our houses are very old and weathered, so we won’t be able to reuse these materials after we move. We’re going to have to start all over, so we should be given enough money to live decently,” Him Sokary said.

District officials, however, refused to negotiate.

“These families already agreed to our terms,” said Tuol Kork district Deputy Governor Ek Yoeun. “We will just have to pull down their houses for them if they won’t do it themselves.”

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