We have restored ties in the diplomatic sector ... but other sectors remain unchanged.
RESIDENTS living along a section of National Road 6 in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district applauded Prime Minister Hun Sen’s recommendation yesterday to scale back plans to widen the road, thus avoiding the destruction of numerous businesses and homes.
The decision was announced yesterday after the Prime Minister made a surprise visit to Russey Keo district hall, where he and local officials agreed that an approximately 1-kilometre stretch of the road should be expanded by only 15 metres from the existing sidewalks on each side.
Previously, a 4-kilometre stretch of the road was to be expanded by 25 metres on both sides in an effort to ease traffic jams outside the city.
Nuth Put Dara, Russey Keo’s deputy district governor, said that the reduced expansion would only apply to about 1 kilometre of the road, a stretch that passed through a populated area.
“Our plan now is to only expand the road by 15 metres from the bridge to Dos Sit clinic,” he said.
Chan Vuthy, 42, who owns an electrical repair shop in Kean Klaing village, Chruoy Changvar commune, said that “many people” living along National Road 6 were happy with the Prime Minister’s recommendation because they were optimistic that the move would likely spare their homes and businesses.
“It is like I have won thousands of dollars in the lottery,” he said.
“We are all pleased to cooperate even though I will still lose part of my shop.”
Instead of being forced to demolish most of his shop, Chan Vuthy will now need only to move his front entrance back about 2 metres.
“I think that the previous decision to take 25 metres of land would have had significant effects on future election results because villagers would have been very unhappy,” he said.
Kong Mony, a 27-year-old electrical equipment dealer from Kean Klaing village, also said that she was pleased the road expansion had been scaled back because it meant that she would not lose her business.
“Before, when I was told to move backward 25 metres, I felt really depressed because I have nothing besides this land, which I spent all my money to buy,” she said.
However, she said that her wooden home had already been demolished on the order of local authorities. She said that “development projects should only occur with the approval of citizens”.
To date, villagers say that Russey Keo district authorities have forced about 90 families in Kean Klaing village to tear down their houses.
The families had been promised US$477 in compensation and 6-by-12-metre plots of land in Kandal province’s Ponhea Leu district. It would now appear, however, that at least some of these families were forced to tear down their homes unnecessarily.