Railway Families Demand Answers Outside ADB Offices

Representatives of 400 Phnom Penh families who fear losing their land to a railway rehabilitation project partially funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) protested outside the bank’s country office on Friday morning.

The 30-odd protesters demanded that the ADB clarify how much land on either side of the track would be lost to the project, which is being carried out by Toll Royal Railways, a subsidiary of local conglomerate Royal Group. 

“We agreed to an announcement from the ADB that the railway needed only 3.5 meters [from the track’s centerline], but then the Toll Royal Railway company announced that it required 10 meters,” said Meas Sreynet, a representative of the families.

Sou Savoeun, housing rights program manager at Equitable Cambodia, said Toll Royal Railway announced in November that 10 meters from the centerline would need to be clear of obstructions, citing safety concerns.

The company could not be reached Friday.

ADB country director Eric Sidgwick said in an email that the protesters asked the bank to facilitate a meeting between the families and the company.

“Representatives of households living outside the railway project’s corridor of impact have requested ADB to facilitate a meeting between them and Toll Royal Railway (TRR) regarding the TRR’s leaflet on safety,” he said. “ADB will convey their request to TRR.”

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