‘Compensation was promised, not delivered'
Residents of Hanoi Road whose houses were partially or completely demolished by the authorities this week for a street-widening program, protested Tuesday outside Prime Minister Hun Sen's Phnom Penh home.
They are seeking intervention by the prime minister in their dispute with the municipality, which they say refuses to compensate most of them for their lost homes. Residents said 27 homes in Sen Sok district have been bulldozed.
The only person said to have been offered compensation was 53-year-old Oeum Roeun, whose house was completely demolished Monday. However, she refused the empty plot in Thnot Chrum the municipality had offered.
"They demolished my house, which means they have killed my family. We have no way to make a living, and we are now staying in front of another villager's house on the pavement," she said. "I don't know where my plates and iron pots went. And how can I go to the new plot? I haven't any money to construct a house."
Chin Tonn, 60, said the commune chief had promised that if they allowed their houses to be demolished, they would be compensated.
"But now that they have demolished our houses, they say we aren't entitled to any compensation because we still have three metres of our homes left," Chin Tonn said. "We went to complain at the municipality and in Sen Sok district because the demolition letters came from both of those authorities."
Officials at City Hall would not discuss compensation. Phnom Penh Deputy governor Mann Chhoeun refused to comment and referred questions to Chreang Sophan, the deputy governor in charge of road construction. Chreang Sophan said the city had delegated authority to speak with local people to district Governor Khoung Sreng.
Khoung Sreng told the Post the 4-kilometre-long project affected 64 houses. He said many families had agreed to remove fences ahead of the demolition and claimed that residents had no right to compensation.
"Those affected families should know that they were living on pavement land, and according to the Land Law this has to be returned to the government when it wants to develop the area," he said. "City Hall has no compensation policy for partly-affected residents who built on the pavement."