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Ministry says future railway expansion is draft sub-decree aim

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Residents living along the railway in Phnom Penh's Toul Kork district. Hong Menea

Ministry says future railway expansion is draft sub-decree aim

Officials from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport have been reviewing and discussing the draft of a sub-decree on land management along roads and railways, the passing of which will pave the way for the government to set up a national committee to oversee the management of this work.

The ministry’s senior officials held the latest working group meeting via video conference last week. Its technical officials collected additional input to fill in the gaps in order to ensure that the text of the draft sub-decree is clear and that its coverage is comprehensive.

Pal Chandara, the ministry’s secretary of state and chairman of the working group who chaired the meeting, told The Post that Cambodia already has laws and regulations to manage issues pertaining to the roadside.

However, due the current situation involving widespread encroachments which are affecting the roadsides at a time when the government needs to develop more roads, he said additions and clarifications to the law on this topic were required. The law also covers state compensation for any damage to people’s property.

Chandara said the ministry will also set out a separate sub-decree on the management of the land along the sides of the railways.

“We made this sub-decree to manage the roadsides because we need to develop roads, national roads and railways,” he said. “Today, we have only one railway, but if our country builds more railways in the future, the development will inevitably affect some people. So, we have to make a sub-decree to manage the entirety of Cambodia’s roadsides from now on,” he said.

Kong Sovann, a public health specialist and director of the International Safety Fund Programme, said the development of the new standards should be based on Cambodia’s actual experiences so that they will remain widely applicable in the future.

“In general, before preparing any sub-decrees or making declarations, it’s best to learn through experience or trial and error from pilot or test programmes. These experiences will show us where our assumptions are correct and incorrect and we can use that information to inform the legal standards used for the future development of our railways,” he said.

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