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Homes in Phnom Penh to be torn down

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The Dangkor district administration orders that illegal buildings along the Prek Thnot riverbank in Phnom Penh’s Kraing Pongro commune be dismantled. fresh news

Homes in Phnom Penh to be torn down

Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district administration will tear down illegal houses and shops built on the bank of Prek Thnot river, said its administrative director Mok Puthea.

He said illegal homes, shops, cafes and canteens in Teuk Thla village along the river in Kraing Pongro commune have caused water pollution and traffic congestion.

“In the past, no one lived on the riverbank until a factory was established there. Then the people [claim to] have lived there for years."

However, Dangkor district hall’s 2013 statistics showed that no one lived along the river.

“None of their names were in [the 2013 statistical report]. Therefore, they have just settled there in the last few years after the factory was built."

“Some people secretly build during the night, making it difficult to monitor them,” he said.

“The company [that owns the factory] has even [spread canvases] over [a public road]. Therefore, if we do not take action, more people will construct buildings in this area."

“We plan to make contracts with them to remove the buildings, but some of them claim to have built their houses and shops a long time ago,”said Puthea.

“Some people secretly build during the night, making it difficult to monitor them,” he said.

He added that before taking tough measures, they will be informed of all the conditions and ordered to remove their buildings. If they don’t, three warnings will be issued.

“If they still refuse to move out, we will ask for the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall’s permission to implement other measures,” he said.

‘Within a week’

Kraing Pongro commune chief Mao Sophon, who manages the Prek Thnot river area, said the Kraing Pongro commune authority has not taken action and is waiting for orders from district authorities.

“We are [counting the] population living there . . . and we will collect statistics from them again,” said Sophon.

Dangkor district governor Nuth Puthdara announced on October 16 that buildings along Prek Thnot need to be dismantled within a week.

“Your construction on the area has no permission. The district administration requires all of you to stop construction and dismantle within seven days of the announcement."

“If you do not follow the order, the district administration will take action and dismantle the constructions without paying reparation. In the worst case scenario, a lawsuit will be filed in court for further action,” said Puthdara.

Though there is no clear data, Puthea says the population along Prek Thnot consists of only 30 families.

A local villager, who wished to remain anonymous, said around 40 families were concerned about their losses, some claiming to have lived in the area for years.

The villager said most of them took out bank loans to build their houses and shops and that shop owners sell rice, coffee and other food to factory workers.

Toek Thla village chief Khiev Nith, who lives in the Prek Thnot river area, is worried about the dismantling because the people living there are poor and work in the factory to earn a living.

“No new people came to live here. Most of them are the children of people who have lived here for years. Living here for a long time, their children created new families but built on top of their old [homes]."

“I also do not know how to help the people because [these are orders from our superiors],” said Nith.

Villager Ket Vuth said: “I am [retired and receive a] monthly pension of 100,000 riel. I now work as a tuk-tuk driver and have six children living with me.

“I’ve lived here since 1980. If the authorities order me to move out, I would not know where to go.”

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