The Ponhea Leu district administration in Kandal province is examining the effects of a public park project in response to protests from residents who received notices to dismantle their homes.

The district administration first issued a notice on September 13 to individuals residing on land earmarked for development along National Road 5, specifically between kilometre posts 32 and 33 in Kampong Luong commune’s Sangvor village.

They were instructed to dismantle their structures starting from the date of the notice.

The administration also warned that failure to comply with the notification would result in administrative or legal action, emphasising that any property damage or loss would not be the responsibility of the district administration.

“We intend to construct a public park aimed at enhancing aesthetics and maintaining public order along National Road 5. We previously noted instances of individuals constructing homes and commercial booths on land designated for development, which is state-owned,” confirmed the administration.

“This situation has disrupted the public order and aesthetics of National Road 5, jeopardising the safety and wellbeing of local residents,” it said.

Chow Heang, a resident who asserted occupancy of a 650sqm plot since 1990, officially recognised in 1992, said his family has ceded more than half of his land for the new National Road 5 project, in exchange for slightly over $10,000 in compensation.

With the remaining land, he aspires to secure a legal title once the Ministry of Economy and Finance validates the last portion for habitation or business activities.

However, his concerns were reignited upon receiving a notification from the district authorities regarding a public park project affecting his property and that of his neighbours.

“Since my land was partitioned for the new road construction, I’ve already surrendered half of it. Yet, they’ve accused me of occupying the roadside land designated for development. How can I accept this?

“I’ve been a resident here for a considerable duration, and now both the front and back of my land have been cleared, and my property is disappearing. In the past, they cleared the area in front of my land, and now they claim my land as part of the road reserved for development. How can I permit them to seize my land without compensation?” he voiced his concerns.

Heang also disclosed that when the project to construct a road behind his residence emerged, it was initially presented as a garden construction venture by the district authorities.

Consequently, he proposed the consideration of relocation or appropriate compensation for affected individuals, given that this road and park project was introduced subsequently.

District governor of Ponhea Leu Thorn Sovanna told The Post on September 18 that his administration is actively working alongside provincial authorities and relevant departments to address this development project.

However, he did not confirm the specifics of the solution at this time, nor did he ascertain the number of families impacted by this project.

“I am currently assessing the impact with the involvement of relevant departments. Please await the completion of the impact study. A meeting is scheduled in approximately one week,” he stated.