Disgruntled O’Russei Vendors Meet Governor Chea Sophara

With renovations on the city’s largest market nearly a month from completion, disgruntled vendors met Monday with Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara, complaining the rent will be too high.

“Some of them left happy, [but] some of them left not so happy,” said Mann Chhoeun, municipal chief of cabinet, who also attended the meeting.

Vendors preparing to move into Old O’Russei Market after its renovation want the rent cut in half, they said in interviews Friday at the temporary market near Olympic Stadium.

Rents will range from $1,900 to $3,300, the municipality has said. Vendors had been worried because the city was considering making them pay the rent—in a lump sum—in advance.

However, Ngeth Chan Davy, director of the city’s finance department, said payments will be spread out over 20 years, making the rents very reasonable.

More than 10 vendors, none of whom wanted their names used, also want space on the ground floor.

They say they should get first crack at prime locations as former tenants of the old market.

But, they say, the city is giving that premium space to new vendors, banishing them to higher floors, where it is more difficult to haul goods up and down.

“It is hard for us to bring the heavy goods like spare parts for motorbikes, machines, books and other heavy goods to the first floor,” said one vendor.

Ea Thearith, chief of the mun­icipal finance bureau, said many old vendors will still have space on the ground floor, which will be dedicated to food; the problem is that there is space for 1,600 shops on the ground floor and about 4,400 old vendors.

The vendors had said they might organize demonstrations if they were not satisified with the governor’s reponse to their complaints.

Their plans could not be immediately learned Tuesday.

(Addi­tional reporting by Brian Calvert)



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