Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng has ordered authorities to act against the perpetrators who built houses along the Luo 5 canal in Meanchey district.
The municipal administration plans to create a committee to solve the matter.
The order was given on Wednesday while Sreng led experts to check the Luo 5 pumping station in Meanchey district’s Stung Meanchey III commune, said a press release published by the Ministry of Information.
Drainage canals are of great benefit to residents because they can better drain the homes of the city’s residents, Sreng said.
He said local authorities must clearly identify State land and the land belonging to the people. The canal is being encroached on by residents who fill it and then claim the newly created land.
“The Phnom Penh administration will create a team to check the location and advise citizens to move from the canal,” Sreng said.
Commune chief Um Hoeung told The Post that the canal has a width of 50m and the municipal hall recently unveiled a development plan to build a road on either side of it.
According to commune statistics, 97 people were found to have breached the five drainage canals and 38 houses had been demolished, said Hoeung.
“There are two villages nearby this canal. The residents have lived there 10 years already, but there were new encroachments recently. Newcomers and long-time residents continued to build houses and do not respect the ban,” he said.
Hoeung expects the municipal hall to solve the injustices to avoid future protests.
Long Sak, a resident who lives close to the canal, told The Post on Thursday that it was big and citizens have been living there for a long time.
The canal became smaller when a construction company encroached on it. The citizens bore the consequences and were blamed for improperly building houses.
“Originally, our people did not encroach as much as the construction company. They just filled the land in the canal to build a road,” he said.
Sak said if the canal is only 10 metres wide, people should not be punished for occupying the land, because without it, they have nowhere to live.
The press release said the Luo 5 pumping station covers three districts – Meanchey, Por Sen Chey and Dangkor. The role of the pumping station and the canal is to prevent floods.