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Villagers push city on mooted road buildout

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Resident inspect the railway expansion maps while protesting outside City Hall yesterday in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

Villagers push city on mooted road buildout

About 70 community members living along the railway tracks in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district asked City Hall for clarification on City Governor Pa Socheatvong’s visit to the site in February and mention of a potential road expansion that, if carried out, would see them lose their homes.

The governor visited the railway tracks, which pass behind the Royal University of Phnom Penh, last month, and in an informal discussion with villagers asked if they would like to expand the road. Socheatvong said it would only be possible if they took at least 15 metres of land on either side of the tracks.

Villagers yesterday petitioned City Hall asking for clarification on whether the road was in fact being widened. They also requested that any widening be restricted to a maximum of 14 metres to reduce their loss of land.

“People will not oppose the development, but if they take 15 to 30 metres, nothing is left, and there will be no land for building a house,” said villager Meas Sreymom.

In the event of a road expansion, the petition also asks that the municipality organise a relocation site for those affected by the project. The petition was accepted by a City Hall staffer and the villagers will have another meeting with the municipality on March 28.

Phnom Penh spokesman Met Measpheakdey yesterday confirmed that there was no plan so far to build a road along the railway line.

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