Siem Reap Vendors Join for Market Revamp

In an effort to attract more shoppers, more than 500 vendors in Siem Reap town plan to collectively renovate a province-owned market , a local official there said.

The vendors at Phsar Leu already have received permission from the provincial and national governments to renovate the market, said Nam Tum, Siem Reap’s first deputy governor.

According to the plan, each vendor will pay for a portion of the $3 million renovation. In return, the vendors will own their own booths after the renovation is completed, Nam Tum said. So far, three-fourths of the 720 shop owners have agreed to participate in the project, the Nam Tum said.

“It’s a great idea,” Nam Tum said Sunday. “They don’t need investors to upgrade the market. We are proud the vendors are capable to do the project by themselves.”

Phsar Leu, built in 1980 by the provincial government, used to be one of the most popular markets in the town, officials said. However, the wooden structure and its plastic-sheeted roof has deteriorated, officials said.

“The market should be rebuilt because the current facility is terrible and nobody wants to go shopping there anymore,” said Tann Chay, provincial police chief.

According to the plan, the new facility will be a modern concrete building on 2 hectares of the current site. Sections will be organized based on the types of goods sold, Nam Tum said.

Vendors are finalizing the plan and drawing a design of the new building, officials said. If everything goes smoothly, work will likely start in early December and be finished by the end of next year, Nam Tum said. Dur­ing the construction period, the vendors will do their business in a makeshift market next to the current facility, officials said.

Experts in development ap­plaud the plan, citing it would be a good example of decentralization and prevent corruption of local officials.

“I think it’s a wonderful initiative for decentralization in which people take care of their own future,” said Chea Vannath, president of the Center for Social Development, adding government intervention should be limited to safety measures only. “In this way at least 30 percent of the whole cost will be reduced be­cause they don’t need to go through many middle persons in the government to get things done.”

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