(CAAI News Media)
Monday, 11 January 2010 15:00 Chhay Channyda
THE government has cancelled agreements on 50 private concessions in Mondulkiri province, apparently due to company inactivity, according to the provincial governor.
In a statement dated January 4, Chan Yoeun said the decision had been made to “nullify and invalidate 50 companies in Mondulkiri province”.
It said an additional three companies previously under investigation would be able to continue working in the province according to their original agreements, adding that the authorities “welcome new companies or old that seek real investment”.
The statement, which was published in the local Khmer-language press, listed the names of the companies whose deals were annulled – including Tanimex Co Ltd and Good Luck Co – although no official reason was given for the decision. Chan Yoeun was unavailable for further comment.
Deputy Governor Aisy Sokunthear said in November that the government was considering whether to cancel agreements with more than 50 firms operating in Mondulkiri province on the grounds that they had failed to develop their land concessions. She was unavailable for further comment Friday.
At the time she said the decision to investigate the companies had been made to determine the tax that should be paid to the government, and also so that unused land concessions could be redistributed to companies with serious plans to develop the province.
According to Mondulkiri provincial figures, the government granted 260,000 hectares of land to the companies in question for production of crops including rubber and coffee.
Chhay Thy, a provincial monitor for the rights group Adhoc, said Friday that the decision to invalidate the companies’ licences followed a meeting on November 25 between the head of the National Land Dispute Resolution Committee, Bin Chhin, and provincial officials from Mondulkiri.
No further details from the meeting were immediately available.
“Those companies have not done anything except clear the land,” Chhay Thy said, adding that firms should discuss with local inhabitants private-sector projects and their impacts on communities before going ahead with development.