Russei Keo Residents Still Waiting for Relocation

Villagers in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district who have been affected by the widening of National Road 6A resumed rebuilding their homes yesterday but were still waiting to hear from officials on whether they will be relocated, villagers and commune officials said yesterday.

Residents started rebuilding their homes in the district’s Chroy Changva commune out of frustration at delays in arranging their relocation, said Sing Phon, 46, a representative of the affected villagers.

Mr Phon said municipal authorities had promised residents plots of land on a site in nearby Prek Leap commune but so far none of the villagers had been able to move.

“We have looked for the new relocation site but we could not find it,” he said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen viewed the area personally on Aug 25. The premier apologized to the residents, ordered a reduction in the width of the road expansion from 60 to 30 meters and increased the compensation package being offered. According to Mr Hun Sen, affected villagers should receive $500 and a 6-by-12-meter plot at the new site.

“Since then we have never heard about the enforcement of Samdech [Hun Sen’s] promise from local authorities. So we don’t know what to do rather than renovating our old houses,” Mr Phon said.

Villagers briefly clashed with district police on Sunday after police tried to stop them from rebuilding, villagers claimed.

The commune chiefs of Prek Leap and neighboring Prek Trasek commune, which may contain part of the proposed relocation site, said they were not clear about the relocation plans.

Lim Leangse, deputy chief of the prime minister’s Cabinet, said municipal authorities were responsible for ensuring that the premier’s wishes were carried out.

“Samdech had decided to relocate them to a very nearby location and City Hall is working on that,” he said, before referring specific questions to City Hall.

Ly Saveth, chief of the municipal Cabinet, said city and district officials are working on finalizing details of the relocation site but have not finished yet.


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