Locals Fearful of Eviction Due to Riverfront Development Plan

Residents of Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district living along the 2-km stretch of riverfront property the municipality plans to turn into a public park expressed concern Wednesday that they could be evicted without compensation.

City Hall posted a master plan of the proposed project, located north of the Chroy Changva bridges, to its Facebook page on December 30. The plan shows expansive public gardens, parking areas and docks.

Sou Cheng, 61, who has lived about 50 meters from the bridges in Srah Chak commune since 1989, said the city informed her village chief that the plan would also require a 6-meter-wide road expansion that would carve out a large section of her house.

Ms. Cheng said, however, that she would refuse to relocate without adequate compensation.

“If they want to evict me, I will demand $300,000 in compensation,” she said.

Another Srah Chak resident, Sauth Sela, 56, said her family had lived along the river since 1995 and that the plans for the city’s development came as a shock.

She added that while she would seek between $200,000 and $300,000 in compensation if evicted, she did not expect to receive it.

“I think the state will not have money to pay us,” she said.

Both Ms. Cheng and Ms. Sela said they had certificates from the commune and district confirming that they live on their property, but that they did not possess land titles.

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said Wednesday that plans for the riverfront had not been finalized.

“This is just a plan and we will not immediately begin it because we will go down to survey the people,” he said, adding that compensation would only be discussed after the survey is complete.

Mr. Dimanche also said he believed that any homes along the river were there illegally.

“That land belongs to the state,” he added, declining to comment further.


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