Municipal hall

Residents of the canal ask for titles from the town hall

Thirty-five families affected by the development of three channels in the Tatuk community gathered outside Phnom Penh City Hall on February 9 to demand a response to a letter they sent in 2019. FACEBOOK

Thirty-five families affected by the development of three canals in the Tatuk community gathered outside Phnom Penh City Hall on February 9 to demand a response to a letter they sent in 2019.

Bao Srey Mao, a community representative from Prek Thleung village of Choeung Ek township in the capital’s Dangkor district, told the Post on Feb. 9 that the government had previously announced plans to develop three canals that would affect households living nearby.

She said the community had previously submitted a letter to authorities asking for development there, rather than relocation of families. They had not received any positive response and so they had met to follow up on their previous request.

“Our land is at the mouth of the canals, not above them. We want nothing more than to live in the same place. We don’t want to be relocated, but we are very worried because we don’t have land titles. We respectfully request that we be allowed to remain in our homes,” she said.

Another resident, Oem Saroeun, said the families had lived on the canals since the 1980s and authorities had yet to issue them title deeds. She asked the town hall to allocate more than 4,000 m² of land along the canal to the villagers so that they could develop it themselves.

Equitable Cambodia’s executive director, Eang Vuthy, said that all citizens have a legitimate right to request development proposals there, and that they have taken place in other areas.

He believes that the authorities should try to find a fair solution as soon as possible, because the problem has already been going on for many years.

“People are definitely worried, so the government should ease their concerns by finding a quick fix. It is difficult for them to live in the current circumstances as their emotions are clouded by the uncertainty of living without legal recognition,” he said.

City hall spokesman Meth Meas Pheakdey told the Post on Feb. 9 that he was aware of the rally, but had not yet had time to study the details of the case.

“We only know that people have filed a petition, but we don’t know exactly what happened yet. I will have to verify the content of the petition and their needs before I can provide an answer on how we will resolve the problem,” he said.