Municipal and Meanchey district authorities on Wednesday informed dozens of families living in small wooden houses along the side of National Road 1 in Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov 1 commune that they will have to move in order to make way for a road expansion.
“Work on the project will begin next week, but today we asked those people to move so we can send bulldozers to clear the land,” said district governor Kuoch Chamroeun.
National Road 1 will be widened by 20 meters on each side of the road, with the first phase of the project taking place along a 4-km stretch from Chbar Ampov bridge to Kdey Takoy pagoda, according to Mr. Chamroeun.
The second phase of the project will see each side of the road extended by another 5 meters, but only after financial compensation has been worked out for those living in that stretch. For people living within the 20 meters next to the roadside, no compensation is available as it is considered public land.
“We will not pay compensation to the affected families because they are living on public land within 20 meters of a road,” Mr. Chamroeun said.
Sorn Narath, deputy chief of the district inter-ministerial office, said that 61 families would lose their homes entirely, while more than 500 other families would be somewhat affected by the extension.
“We have prepared a plot of land for the families that lose everything and each family will receive an area 4 meters wide by 15 meters long in Niroth commune,” about 6 km away, Mr. Narath said.
Huy Phalla, 45, who has a 12-by-24-meter house along the road in Chbar Ampov 1 and has been ordered to move, said she had been living there since the end of the Khmer Rouge regime.
“I need compensation in accordance with the market price, otherwise I will not agree for my house to be removed as I have been staying here since 1979,” she said.