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Roadside families promised plots

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:

Phnom Penh City Hall has said it will hold a public forum within two weeks on plans to develop a road on a disused stretch of railway in Russey Keo district.
Locals from six communities have been protesting the development plans for the past few months over fears they could lose their homes.
Bulldozers moved in to clear the way for construction several weeks ago but the 1,200 families affected still had no idea what was happening.
City Hall has now pledged to explain the development in detail and said it would provide locals with land plots along the roadside.
Phnom Penh Governor Pa Socheatvong told reporters that City Hall would  construct a 22-metre wide road where the railway was, with four metres free on each side for planting trees, embedding drainage, water systems and utility poles.  
They will also provide land plots to the affected people, within 60 metres of the old railway. He said: “We will organise land plots for citizens, giving them an average of four by 15 metres per family along the road.
“We will not be evicting anybody as some groups have claimed. People will just have to move from one place to another. ”
Sim Vireak, a representative of Russey Keo district’s Toul Sangke A community, welcomed the announcement of plots for those affected. But he said officials must fulfil their promises.
“The municipality kept telling us not to worry. But how could we keep calm when land was being cleared up to our doorsteps? We will wait and see what happens next. If the municipality does what it says it will then we will be happy,” he said.  
According to the authorities, the road along the railway will be 4.5 kilometres long and take five months to build.
It will start at Street 70 in the Beoung Kak area and continue to National Road 5 in Russey Keo.

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