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Residents question park plans

Residents question park plans

ABOUT 20 families in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district requested yesterday that City Hall clarify the government’s intention to build a public park on their land, expressing fear it might later use the property for other purposes.

The suggestion was raised yesterday when municipal officials and local authorities met with village representatives in Russei Keo commune’s Klaing Saing village, north of Chroy Changvar Bridge on the Tonle Sap riverbank.

Mi Kiev, a village representative, said the residents have  occupied a 142-metre stretch of riverside land since 1979, and requested that officials confirm plans for the riverside promenade, first made public in July.

“We want a written letter, clarifying that the land will really be used to build the park, because we are afraid that the state will rent it to other companies to run businesses or to develop other projects,” he said.

Villagers protested on Tuesday outside the Russei Keo commune office, asking for provisional control of the land while authorities use machinery to fill it in with sand.

Officials said that they issued an announcement on July 28 for villagers living along the riverbank to dismantle their homes to make way for the development of the park.

Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema has said the park, to be built in conjunction with petrol conglomerate Sokimex, will cost US$700,000.

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