City Hall has issued a directive, effective July 1, banning people from using public sidewalks to carry out businesses activities or set up tents for functions such as weddings.
Phnom Penh Governor Khuong Sreng on Tuesday ordered all district authorities to prepare measures to enforce the ban to ensure public order and smoother traffic flow along the streets.
“From the first of July this year onwards, the Phnom Penh administration requires citizens to find private places such as pagodas or churches, or other suitable locations to set up their tent for functions instead of using public sidewalks,” he said. “We will not allow them to set up the tents on the sidewalks in the city any more.”
Mr Sreng said that City Hall will still allow people to use the sidewalks for functions until June 30, but the organisers have to sign a contract with details of their plan, including the layout, with local authorities.
Mr Sreng added that the tent of the ceremony is allowed on only one section of the sidewalk and there must be security officials helping direct traffic.
A woman, who declined to be named, yesterday said that her daughter was married last month and the family put up a tent on a public sidewalk in front of the house because they could not afford to hold the function in a restaurant or hotel.
“I had no choice but to use the sidewalk to celebrate my daughter’s wedding,” she said. “I know everyone was angry with us just as I used to get angry when others did it and caused a traffic jam.”
“I apologise to them, but if I did not use the public sidewalk I would not have had any other place to hold the wedding,” she added.
She said that she is worried about the city hall ban because she still has two more unmarried daughters.
“I have no idea where I will be able to hold my daughters’ weddings if and when they decide to get married,” she said.
Som Ratha, a private company staff, yesterday said the move was good for ensuring social order and reducing traffic congestion but he requested authorities to take action fairly and without discrimination.
“Mostly, I notice that rich people set up wedding ceremony tents and block the whole road with support from the police,” he said. “It will be unfair if some people are banned and I want the authorities to take action against both rich and poor people alike.”
Mr Ratha noted that when such tents block the road, he finds it irritating and a waste of time to have to drive to work using a longer route.