Phnom Penh Municipal authorities have started the widening of a 4 km long canal on the western outskirts of the city that will require the removal of as many as 100 hundred houses, government officials said Monday.
A notice from Sen Sok district governor Khuong Sreng, dated June 10, requested people living along O’Akuch-Tralokbek Canal in Tomnup and Phnom Penh Thmei villages to vacate the waterside to widen the canal from around 10 to 20 meters and also make way for a 5-meter wide road that will run along each side of the canal.
“To implement canal widening in compliance with the restoration project, Sen Sok district authorities would like to appeal to the people on the canal shore to please remove the buildings and constructions on the canal from the signed date onward,” the notice states.
It added: “In the case that people addressed by the notice don’t follow the notice, Sen Sok district [authorities] will remove remaining houses and will not be responsible for damage or loss of private property or belongings.”
Svay Sopheap, 30, who has lived in a house on the canal side since 1990, said people from the neighborhood had come to ask her to sign a petition to protest ag-
ainst the municipality plans and request compensation for loss of land and houses.
“So far, 73 villagers have given their thumbprint, but I think no less than 100 families are affected,” she said.
Lim Huong, 58, who came out to see the mechanical diggers widening the canal shores Mon-
day, said she had legal land title to 300 square meters of land that the municipality now plans to remove him from.
“I want the authorities to give some compensation to me be-cause my family has only this land,” she said.
District governor Mr Sreng said the canal, which started being worked on last week, needs to be widened as it is currently insufficient to discharge sewage water to Pong Peay Lake from where it flows to the Tonle Sap River.
“So far, 70 families have come to ask the authorities to widen the canal only by a few meters,” he said of he affected residents, adding: “I cannot respond to the villagers, but I will report to City Hall. I don’t know how City Hall will respond to them.”
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