The Battambang Provincial Administration has effectively banned overloaded trucks from entering Battambang town after discovering that they have been causing significant road damage. It has also requested the immediate relocation of warehouses to the outskirts.
A notification signed by provincial governor Sok Lou on May 2 informed all owners of warehouses in Battambang town that any vehicle weighing more than 16 tonnes will be prohibited from entering the town with immediate effect.
“In the past, vendors, traders and other businesspeople have been driving overloaded vehicles into Battambang town, causing damage to roads. Authorities have been criticised for not preventing or banning those trucks,” the notification said.
Lou said in the notification that the ban was to “maintain order, public safety and quality of town roads,” adding that his administration will harshly punish heavy vehicles that enter Battambang town in defiance of the new ban.
The provincial administration is also mandating the relocation of warehouses within Battambang town to beyond town limits for a period of one year from the notification’s date of issuance.
The notification said that during the period in which warehouses are being made to relocate, those still operating in town should transport goods using smaller vehicles that meet the new weight limit.
Yin Mengly, provincial coordinator for rights group ADHOC, expressed support for the decision, and urged officials to actively implement the new laws effectively.
“This issue has been happening for a long time. The proper implementation of the laws and notifications is crucial because the decision, after all, is just a piece of paper. But the important thing to note is whether or not the official can actually implement these laws. It’s an issue we need to really probe. For now, though I see a ban on overloaded trucks, they are still entering the town,” he said.
Mengly said that enforcing the measures banning overloaded trucks was not as difficult as that of other laws, and suggested that officials’ actions - or lack thereof - have been key hindrances to effective implementation.
“Why can all the vehicles get into the town in the first place? It must be due to something related to the officials. I applaud the measures, but the provincial administration should take action against relevant officials who do not implement them,” he said.
Regarding the request to relocate warehouses, Mengly agreed with the administration’s actions, saying he observed that a large number of Samsung trucks have been illegally transporting various products into town and causing traffic jams.
Meanwhile, the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall is also preparing a policy mandating factories, enterprises and warehouses in the city centre to relocate to the suburbs, in order to reduce the number of heavy vehicles entering the city.