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New rail station planned

New rail station planned

090619_02.jpg
090619_02.jpg

Terminal in Dangkor district would displace an estimated 200 families who say they have not been offered compensation.

Photo by: Sam Rith

The railway tracks that run through Dangkor district are set to be replaced by 2012.  

ARAILWAY station redevelopment expected to displace 200 families in Dangkor district should be completed by 2012, said officials who attended an inter-ministerial meeting held this week to discuss ways to mitigate the effects of the project. 

The meeting came as villagers who live near the 98-hectare site slated to house the revamped Samroang railway station maintained that they had not received any compensation offers.

The railway terminal will be Cambodia's largest devoted solely to the shipment of goods and cargo, said Yit Bunna, an undersecretary of state

at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.

 Sokha Ouk, a programme officer for social safeguards at the Asian Development Bank, which is funding the project, said consultants who

surveyed the site earlier this month determined that 200 families would need to be relocated.  

Tep Siheang, 45, who has lived near the site in Samroang village, Samroang Krom commune, since 1993, said Thursday that she and her neighbours would not object to the development project, as long as they were compensated.

"We would like to be compensated through the purchase of our land at market prices," she said.

Ouch Seakmean, 48, who has lived in Samroang village since 1979, also said she had not yet heard of any compensation offers, adding that she learned about the development project when government workers and consultants visited the site two weeks ago to measure her land and that of her neighbours.

Mitigating impacts

Yit Bunna said the inter-ministerial committee is currently "assessing the impacts of the development project" and has not yet determined

appropriate compensation for affected families.

  We would like to be compensated through the purchase of... land.

Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Chreang Sophan, who said he attended the Tuesday meeting at City Hall, said he believes the committee would develop a compensation plan by the end of the year.

Samroang village currently houses a now-defunct railway station consisting of two one-storey brick buildings. Yit Bunna said he believed the station had been built in the 1960s, but had discontinued service with the overthrow of Norodom Sihanouk by Lon Nol in 1970.

Yit Bunna said the new station would be funded by a US$20 million loan from the ADB.

Chantha Kim, ADB's external relations coordinator, said he did not know the specific terms of the loan.

Yit Bunna said TSO, a French railway development company, had secured the contract to develop the site last Friday.

But he said officials were still reviewing "whether it has enough ability to complete the development project as planned or not".

Om Proeung, a Cambodian employee for TSO, on Thursday declined to comment beyond saying that the company was studying the project.

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