Railway protesters seek talks

Source: Khmer Times

Protesters living near the railway project want more information. Supplied

More than 100 residents living in Por Sen Chey district’s Ka Kab commune yesterday burned tyres while protesting over the construction of a railway that will lead to the Phnom Penh International Airport, claiming that people were not given notice of the construction.

Meng Kruy, who lives near the construction on road No.105K, said about 300 families in

four villages have had their lives negatively affected by the project.

“This railway construction project was not clearly discussed with residents,” he said. “Moreover, this road is not big enough, so why would they make a railway across it. And once it is finished, people are concerned for the safety of their children near the tracks. People are unhappy their concerns were not listened to before construction began.”

Mr Kruy said construction of the railway began about two months ago by an unidentified company.

He added that residents had reached out to district authorities to discuss the project and their concerns, but had not yet heard back and had grown frustrated.

Por Sen Chey district governor Hem Darith declined to comment and directed questions to commune officials.

Newly elected Ka Kab commune chief Khim Chan Vannak said that authorities had previously notified residents of the project, but said he planned to ask the company building the railway to cease operations as he becomes more familiar with the case.

“As I am the authority that has not yet received any specific information, I will suspend the construction so that I can learn about the case and so that the company can appear and deal with the people’s concerns,” he said.

Sia Phearum, executive director of the Housing Rights Task Force, said the steps being taken by Mr Vannak should have been implemented before construction began.

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