Construction on a Temporary Market Slated To Begin Today

Construction is set to start today on a temporary covered market on streets 126 and 136 to house vendors temporarily removed from Phsar Thmei during its renovation, Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Map Sarin said.

Renovation of the market is scheduled to begin Dec 15 and will proceed in three waves until August 2010, according to a Nov 14 statement from the Phnom Penh municipality.

“During the construction process, the construction company will transfer the stores of the Phsar Thmei vendors along streets 136 and 126 at the south-east corner of Phsar Thmei, which could result in bad traffic jams around the market,” the statement read.

A 5.4-meter-wide lane will be left clear on each street and traffic police will be deployed, Map Sarin said.

Vendors will be relocated only when work starts on their particular section of Phsar Thmei, he said, adding that security guards would keep watch over the temporary market.

“I’m not so sure when I have to move out for the temporary renovation, and I feel worried about my business since I sell this kind of stuff,” said Chheang Ponna, a gold vendor, pointing to a glass case overflowing with jewelry.

Vendors interviewed were generally happy to get new shops but concerned about the health of their business during the two-year transition.

“It doesn’t matter that I move out, but I am afraid that my clients cannot find me,” said Prak Somnang, 49, who owns two artificial flower and souvenir shops.

Under cover of anonymity, some leveled stronger criticism.

“My store size is 1.5 [square] meters now, and I think I might get 1.2 or 1.3 meters [after the renovation,]” said a sculpture vendor. “I am not happy since I know I will have to pay money for the new store.”

Several vendors, however, said they were promised a stall of the same size and location after they had protested.

The market’s deputy chief, Prak Kachul, declined to comment.

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