Authorities in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district have started rehabilitation work on the main canal next to the railway line in Kakab I commune’s Paprak Khang Cheung village after about 20 families agreed to demolish and clear structures blocking the canal.

District deputy governor Pang Lida said on August 19 that he visited the area and worked with the village residents the previous day.

He said residents on both sides of the railway tracks agreed to work with authorities in clearing the area on and around the canal.

According to Lida, work on the canal will cover the section from Pochentong pagoda in the village to the border of Sen Sok district to drain water into the Kob Srov Lake dam, or Boeung Tamok.

“We previously could not transport an excavator into the area, but after cooperating with the people, we can now start excavation. For the first stage, the canal will be widened to 20m and 1km long,” he said.

Lida stated Por Sen Chey district authorities have to restore the main canal so water from flash floods and sewage can be released from the area. The authorities have already used the excavator to remove the excess mud. However, the canal is still not deep enough as residents have dumped soil in the water for many years.

“The area around Paprak Khang Cheung village, where the canal runs next to the railway line, has been affected by flooding for a long time. This is a main canal in Phnom Penh. In the past, people have always interfered with the canal,” he said.

Prak Sam Nang, a village resident, said authorities had informed him in advance of their plans, so the canal’s rehabilitation will benefit the people and keep the environment clean and prevent flooding.

“The work authorities are undertaking is justified, and they have explained the situation. Rehabilitating this canal is necessary, and I hope that when the work is finished there will be no more flooding. Normally, there is some resentment from residents, but I also understand that interfering with the canal is not right,” he said.