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Russey Keo road project queried

NATIONAL Assembly President Heng Samrin has written a letter urging officials in Russey Keo district to consider scaling back a planned road expansion in response to a request from villagers who say they fear they will lose their homes if current plans for the project go forward.

About 100 families stand to be affected by plans to widen a 4-kilometre section of National Road 6 by 60 metres, said villagers who protested in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s home in Kandal province’s Takhmao town on Thursday.

A May 25 letter signed by Heng Samrin, a copy of which was obtained Thursday, said local officials should consider a request from the families to widen the road by only 27.5 metres.

“The villagers are certainly concerned about the loss of their homes due to this project, which is why they suggested expanding the road by only 27.5 metres total,” he said.

Sueng Phun, a representative of families living in Chroy Changvar commune, said Thursday that limiting the expansion to 15 metres on each side would spare some of the homes, and that others could be disassembled and moved back from the road.

“This plan will seriously affect our homes,” he said, “so we are seeking intervention from [Prime Minister Hun Sen] to reduce the road expansion from 60 metres to less than 30 metres.”

But Kop Sleh, deputy governor of Russey Keo district, said the families are living illegally along the roadside, and that only 80 homes would be affected if plans for the 60-metre widening go forward.

“Currently, the project will affect only 80 homes of people who are living on the sidewalk, which is a violation. However, we are still resolving their concerns,” he said.

Nhem Saran, director of the Municipal Department of Public Works and Transport, said US$143,199 had been allocated for the project.

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