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City Hall plans to legalise slums

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:

Phnom Penh authorities are to conduct a study in a bid to legalise 200 slum communities in the capital city.
City Hall spokesperson Met Meas Pheakdey yesterday said a working team would research how best to beautify the city, including the many slums.
“We want to manage these communities and make things tidier. For example, a community may have 100 families living on one hectare of land which they may have taken illegally. It’s difficult to help the residents of these places should something happen to their community,” Mr Meas Pheakdey said.
“Frankly speaking, our aim is to organise things; to provide them with land titles and plots of land.
“If we are able to help them, we will. We will only reveal the details after we conduct our study.”
Phnom Penh Governor Pa Socheatvong said in a Facebook post that the study would help improve the livelihoods of some of the city’s poorest as well as improve living conditions in the communities.
He hoped that “citizens would cooperate with local authorities and experts to complete the study quickly”.
Housing Rights Task Force executive director Sia Phearum lauded City Hall’s move to allow families to remain living where they are as opposed to evicting them – a faster but more destructive method employed in the past.
“It is better if City Hall lets them settle and then develops the place instead of evicting them without any form of discussion. If they plan to improve the infrastructure there, residents should join in the development process, so Phnom Penh becomes fresh and clean like cities in our neighbouring countries,” he said.
The municipality and relevant departments have issued four main priorities for the city’s development including the implementation of safe village and commune policies, the organisation of street side stalls, the provision of public services through one window offices, as well as the development of infrastructure and prevention of illegal construction.  
In line with this, Phnom Penh deputy governor Khuong Sreng on Monday warned street vendors that those who disrupted traffic flow could be subject to legal action.

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