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Friendly bridge, swift evictions

Friendly bridge, swift evictions

About 160 families living in Srah Chak commune in the capital’s Daun Penh district have two days until their homes are set to be dismantled to make way for a new Cambodian-Chinese Friendship bridge, residents said yesterday.

In an August 5 eviction notice, Daun Penh district governor Sok Sambath said that he would take measures against  “slums” near the construction site to facilitate the project and would not be responsible for compensation if villagers did not leave within 15 days.

Ban Samoul, 71, a resident of village 16 on the west bank of the river, said authorities were forcing 161 families in the commune to pull down their houses. “The authorities did not talk about a solution, but just commanded us to move from this site in 15 days,” he said, adding that the families had decided to stay until they received appropriate compensation.

“We do not reject the new bridge. We just want the government to give us enough money or shelter,” he said.

Sok Sambath could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Meanwhile, residents in Russei Keo district’s Chroy Changvar commune on the east bank of the river expressed uncertainty about whether they would receive compensation.

Chan Sophak, 29, of the commune’s Deum Kor village, said officials had questioned some villagers about the size of their land and had assured them that the information would be used to evaluate compensation, but they had yet to hear the results.

Chroy Changvar commune chief Pich Sareoun said yesterday that 78 families were affected by the bridge project and nine had received US$5,000 each in compensation.

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