Roadside families protest at City Hall

Source: Khmer Times

Families are demanding details of the development. Supplied

Nearly 100 residents living along a stretch of land running from a railway in Boeung Kak to National Road 5 have gathered again outside City Hall to demand information about the development of a new road threatening to destroy their homes.
Their protest came as bulldozers moved in to clear the way for construction.
The residents are from six communities in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh and Russey Keo district; Kroal Kor, Chivit Thmey, Mitapheap, Plov Rot Plerng, Toul Sangke A, Toul Sangke B and Toul Sangke C.
In December, City Hall said the new road would “expand the traffic system in Phnom Penh”.
But Long Chandy, a community representative from Toul Sangke B, said municipal authorities had failed to provide details of the project to locals in the area.
They earlier sent a petition to City Hall asking for more information about the project, but have had no reply.
He said: “I want them to show us where we are going to be resettled if we are going to lose our homes.
“They are using heavy machinery to start pouring concrete in some places and have been clearing land with bulldozers in others. Some people have had the land cleared right up to the entrance of their homes.”
City Hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey said the authorities had not been able to give the residents specific details of the project because they were still studying the extent to which the development would affect them.
He called on people to keep calm and have faith in the mechanisms of the municipal authorities.
He said: “We are preparing to develop the communities around the site, which means we agree with their demands. The impact assessment is still underway. We will be able to discuss the issues with the people once we finish our assessment.”
Adhoc’s head of land rights Latt Ky said all developments must be transparent and acceptable by locals affected.
He said: “The authorities have to do whatever is necessary for people to understand the impact of the development and ensure peaceful solutions for all.
“The involvement of citizens is crucial. We have to consider the purpose of these investments. Development projects must engage the groups that are affected.”
According to community representatives, the development will affect 1,149 families in some way. They believe 343 will lose their homes completely, while 100 will be left living five metres away from the road.

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