Siem Reap City officials are scheduled to move about 30 families living alongside the Siem Reap River to make way for a new park to beautify the city, officials said.
Sixteen of the 32 families whose Sala Kamroeuk commune homes are set to be replaced by a park have agreed to relocate to Banteay Srei district this month, said Oeurn Pov, deputy governor of Siem Reap City. The remainder have also agreed to move, but asked instead for house-building materials to be transported to other pieces of land they own in the city, Mr Pov said.
“The villagers have to move—we have a clear policy to give them a fair option,” Mr Pov said. “All the families have to move within September.”
The provincial committee responsible for the relocation agreed to provide each family with one hectare of land in Banteay Srei district, as well as timber and corrugated tin to build new homes there, he said. In addition, 1.12 million riel, or about $280, will be given to each family to dismantle and transport their current houses, he added.
However, some of the affected families criticized the relocation plan, saying that the compensation is inadequate because they will be moved far from the city.
Me Kearaveak, a member of one family to be relocated, said that he had unhappily agreed to move due to fears that his house would be dismantled.
“Now we have no choice but to accept it,” he said. “I think this is a policy to force poor people out of the city.”
Ing Touch, 33, a tuk-tuk driver who has lived in Sala Kamroeuk commune’s Wat Damnak village since 1979, said that it would be very hard for his children to attend school because the new village in Banteay Srei district is so far away from their school.
Mr Touch said his family and fifteen others have asked for materials to build new homes closer to the city.
“I think that this plan will make my children illiterate,” he said.