Sweeps postponed until after Pchum Ben festival
A ban on Phnom Penh’s sidewalk vendors, which was to have begun today, has been delayed until after next Monday to allow for celebration of the Pchum Ben festival, officials said yesterday.
“It is nearly time for the Pchum Ben festival, so I want people to finish the festival happily,” said Buth Thida, Phsar Thmei III commune chief, who was last month ordered by Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema to begin clearing her sidewalks of vendors starting Sept 15.
Sok Penhvuth, Daun Penh district deputy governor, said his district was also likely to delay the sweep until after the holidays, unless explicitly ordered otherwise by the municipality.
“We’ll let people celebrate the ceremony happily,” he said. “But after Pchum Ben, our officials will implement the announcement.”
Both Mr Penhvuth and Mrs Thida said they have noticed a decrease in vendors over the past two weeks since municipal officials began broadcasting announcements of the planned clearings of sidewalks throughout the city.
Many vendors interviewed at the time said similar sweeps in the past had cleared them from the street for several weeks, but ultimately proved fruitless as they just returned later when enforcement had waned.
Ouk Kimlek, deputy general commissioner of the National Police and deputy chairman of the National Road Safety Committee, who issued the order requiring municipal and provincial officials throughout the country to crack down on sidewalk vendors, said he was unconcerned about the delay in implementing the sidewalk clearance.
“Officials and people have to work together to clear sidewalks in order to clean the city,” he said. As for implementation: “It’s up to local authorities.”