(Post by CAAI News Media)
Thursday, 01 October 2009 15:02 Kim Yuthana and Meas Sokchea
THE final 23 families living along rail lines in Tuol Kork district agreed on Wednesday to accept compensation from City Hall, though at least one resident said he believed the families had been forced into the deal after the government threatened to evict them.
“I agree to accept this, though it is with great suffering,” said Hay Saroeurn, who received US$20,000.
He said 13 other families had also received $20,000, and that nine were given $15,000.
Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Mann Chhoeun confirmed that the families had accepted compensation and agreed to move.
Earlier in the day, the families had expressed their intent to hold out for offers of more money.
“If the compensation was more reasonable than what has been offered, then I would be willing to move,” Phan Vong, who also lives in the settlement known as Community B, said Wednesday morning.
Buy Hay Saroeurn said the families had changed their mind after municipal officials reiterated their plans to use “administrative measures” to resolve the dispute if no agreement had been reached by Friday.
Sang Sopheak Vichet, deputy chief of Tuol Kork district, said officials had done everything they could to resolve the dispute in a manner that would benefit the villagers.
“Whether they chose to accept the compensation or not was their choice,” he said.
“But we were planning to take administrative measures on October 2.”