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Minister assures locals rail won’t disrupt lives

Villagers gather near a tyre that was set alight last week during a protest to express their anger at being left in the dark about a new railway project in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district.
Villagers gather near a tyre that was set alight last week during a protest to express their anger at being left in the dark about a new railway project in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district. Pha Lina

Minister assures locals rail won’t disrupt lives

Transport Minister Sun Chanthol has assured residents living along Street 105K in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district that the construction of a new light-rail service connecting the airport to the railway station would not disrupt their lives.

Residents last week burned tyres to protest the government’s failure to inform them of the project and its scope before the track-laying started, but Chanthol used a ministry ceremony nearby in Por Sen Chey on Friday to say they should not worry.

“One complained that constructing the railway meant there would not be road to walk on anymore. I said that’s not true – the car lane will still be there, and they are just constructing the rail on the existing road,” Chanthol told reporters.

District Governor Hem Darith said the laying of the rail remains temporarily halted after last week’s protests led City Hall to order a delay until residents are better informed about the airport link, which will provide 24-hour rail services.

Royal Railways CEO John Guiry said information about the rail and its impacts would be distributed to residents today.

Street 105K resident Meng Kruy warned that even with Chanthol’s assurances, many residents still feared the project could endanger children who cross the street to get to school, worsen traffic congestion and make businesses less street-accessible. He said the community reserved the right to continue protests.

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