The Sihanoukville municipal administration on Saturday issued a notice ordering buildings on state land along Street 821A, in Commune 4, to be removed by August 2.
Municipal governor Y Sokleng on Sunday said the administration planned to widen Street 821A – currently eight metres wide – along with two other streets.
“We’ve given notice to residents according to the law. If [the road expansion] seriously affects the buildings there, we will further consider by how much the street should be widened."
“However, let the owners of [illegal] structures remove them as per the master plan.”
“In case any building owners fail to comply with this notice, the Sihanoukville municipal administration will take action and remove the buildings without being responsible for damages to their property and materials,” said Sokleng.
On July 18, Sihanoukville authorities issued an announcement informing all organisations and residents on Street 200, in Group 5 in Commune 4’s Village 4, that to develop the area, the Preah Sihanouk provincial authority planned to expand the street to a width of 30-40m.
They were given until July 25 to remove “any buildings that were erected on public spaces”.
More than 100 families living on the street submitted a petition to provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun on July 22 seeking his intervention.
On July 25, Chamroeun told citizens not to worry, saying that no development would affect citizens.
Following a meeting with Chamroeun, the families’ representative, Un Sokha, said: “The provincial governor told me that he will not allow the removal of any citizen’s house. He said [the road expansion] does not affect citizens.
“He said that concrete would merely be laid on the road, so if porches or shop signs are sticking out, they must be removed.”
Sokha said that following Chamroeun’s clarification, none of the more than 100 families have any further concerns. They have since removed structures that protrude into state land.
Preah Sihanouk provincial administration spokesman Kheang Phearum said: “I only confirm that concerning the road expansion, we follow the master plan. Only constructions on state land will be impacted.
“For the two roads concerned, we have given notice to the residents. Those with buildings liable to be impacted, please cooperate.”
Cheap Sotheary, the provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said the people who live along the two roads are long-time residents.
“Places we can remove, we remove with the consent from residents. But for places that cannot be removed, the authorities should try to resolve the issue in collaboration with them. The authorities want to have a wide road and citizens want to live with safety and stability,” he said.