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Market redevelopment put on ice at PM's bidding: city

Market redevelopment put on ice at PM's bidding: city

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Kandal Market vendors gather at City Hall on Monday to protest a US$12 million redevelopment proposal.

Municipal officials cite June 16 order, asking vendors to refrain from protests a day after Kandal Market vendors met at City Hall in a bid to keep their stores.

CITY Hall said in a statement Tuesday that all redevelopment plans for the capital's markets had been "suspended".

The statement came one day after Kandal Market vendors gathered outside City Hall to protest against a plan to turn that market into an eight-storey business centre.
Vendors expressed concern Monday that they would lose their stalls and businesses once the project was completed.

"Phnom Penh Municipality would like to assure vendors that Prime Minister Hun Sen has officially announced in a government directive dated June 16, 2009, to suspend all market development in Phnom Penh," the statement reads. "This is the highest decision of government."

The statement adds: "City Hall authorities ask vendors to continue doing business normally and not to believe the incitement of a handful of perpetrators."

NOT THIS TIME, BUT MAYBE NEXT TIME, THE COMPANY WILL GET THE GREEN LIGHT.

Vendors' representative Leb Ny said Tuesday that Kandal Market vendors were "happy to hear the statement", though she said she was worried that it was merely a stopgap measure to stave off further demonstrations.
"I am still concerned," she said. "Not this time, but maybe next time, the company will get the green light to build the market. Our feeling is not calm."

Plans for Kandal
The Kandal Market redevelopment proposal was drafted by a joint venture between a South Korean company and the local company PPMD.

Chan Sophal, director of the joint venture, said Tuesday that he believed the statement would discourage future protests. He added that no formal agreements had been signed between the joint venture and the government.

He said Sunday that Prime Minister Hun Sen and Interior Minister Sar Kheng had agreed in principle to the US$12 million project, which would create 1,000 stores for market vendors.

The plan calls for market stores to be located on the ground and first floors of the business centre.

Chan Sophal said the plan would take roughly five years to complete.

He emphasised on Tuesday that he was interested in gauging whether vendors would react positively or negatively to the project.

"If the majority of vendors disagree with the development, then we will not develop the market," he said.

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