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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM threatens train chief after power row

PM threatens train chief after power row

PRIME Minister Hun Sen threatened to sack the head of the national railway on Tuesday if he did allow not an electric pylon to be installed on his land near the Vietnamese border.

Power lines from Vietnam were placed in Takeo province Monday and will be connected to Phnom Penh.

But the director of the Royal Railway of Cambodia, Sokhom Phekavanmony, did not allow the lines to be installed on his private property, which threatens to delay the entire project.

"I want to know whether Phekavanmony wishes to maintain his position as director of the Royal Railway of Cambodia or if he wishes to keep his land, because he may lose both," said the prime minister.

"What is the problem? There would only be one pole running through his land," he said.

"If you don't give this small plot of land, you will be terminated from your position. Phnom Penh lacks electricity because of this problem," Hun Sen added.

"The shortage of electricity in Phnom Penh is getting serious, and the EdC [Electricite du Cambodge] is having to rotate blackouts across the city, so I won't let this situation continue anymore," said Hun Sen.

"I hope to have the new electrical lines connected to Phnom Penh before Khmer New Year."

Hun Sen ordered Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An, Minister of Industry Suy Sem and the municipality to settle the conflict in one week and to start installing the electricity pylons according to plan.

Sokhom Phekavanmony did not answer his phone on Tuesday.

Keo Rottanak, managing director of EdC, the government body in charge of the transmission lines, was also unavailable for comment on Tuesday.

Electricity supply continues to fall short of demand in Phnom Penh, forcing authorities to institute blackouts, which have typically been most severe in poorer districts of the capital.

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