PHNOM Penh Municipality has pledged the city will build access roads into a Russey Keo district village that was ravaged by fire in November.
Construction of two roads will begin in January after more than 200 houses in the village in Chraing Chamres II commune were levelled in the blaze, which also set light to the local commune hall and police office.
“We will rebuild the commune office when we start constructing the roads,” said Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema, who said the “majority of residents” agreed to give up a piece of their land to build the roads.
The village’s narrow lanes were a barrier to combating the November blaze. Fire trucks couldn’t squeeze through the tight passages, forcing officials to bulldoze entire houses just to get at the flames.
Construction of the new roads will affect people living in roughly 100 houses, said Vann Phan, chief of the commune.
The roads, he said, will need to be expanded to at least a 4-metre width, clawing away a metre or two of space from affected houses, he said.
“There is no policy to compensate the residents, but most of them agree with the construction, except for the owners of several big concrete houses,” Vann Phan said.
‘Happy’ to give land
One local resident whose home was wrecked by the blaze said she agreed to let the construction proceed through part of her land.
Before the fire, Noun Pov said, the neighbourhood was crowded; the roads weren’t wide enough for large cars to drive through.
“I am happy to give part of my land for the road construction,” she said.
Meanwhile, authorities said they are also looking for land to double the number of fire stations in the city.
The two new stations would include one in Russey Keo district near the Japanese Bridge, and one in Dangkor district.
“This is our plan, but we have to find the land first,” said Neth Vantha, director of the municipal fire department.