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Stung Meanchey villagers (right) talk to officials at the Ministry of Land Management yesterday in Phnom Penh.
Stung Meanchey villagers (right) talk to officials at the Ministry of Land Management yesterday in Phnom Penh. Pech Sotheary

Canal residents demand security

Community representatives for more than 400 hundred families living along the Stung Meanchey canal yesterday met with officials from the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction as part of an ongoing dispute over a canal renovation project.

The 20 representatives made three requests: They want the right to live legally in the area, they want to be able to develop and renovate their own properties and they want the government to help widen the main road in the area, which they claim is too narrow, according to So Sok, deputy director for the general department of housing at the Land Management Ministry.

However, the area around the canal is under the control of the state, and any decisions on the residents’ requests would depend on the ministers for land management and public works and transport, in addition to the Phnom Penh municipal authority, Sok said.

Community representative Dul Nhearn acknowledged the families lived on state land, but said they had done so for years.

“We live here happily and we do not want to move out since our jobs, schools and hospitals are around here,” Nhearn said.

The meeting took place after the residents filed a request on May 5 to discuss the proposal to renovate the 1,470-metre canal, which they were concerned might have meant that they would have to relocate.

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