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Rail compensation talks stall

Written By vibykhmer on Wednesday, September 2, 2009 | 3:44 AM


The Phnom Penh Post
Wednesday, 02 September 2009
May Titthara

FAMILIES from four communes in Daun Penh and Tuol Kork districts in Phnom Penh on Monday met local authorities to discuss the impact of a proposed railway upgrade that threatens to uproot hundreds living along the tracks.

Chan Thear, one of the residents affected by the planned upgrade, said authorities were unwilling to consider proper compensation.

"We were unable to reach a clear resolution," he said. "We want them to provide compensation similar to what they did for residents of Boeung Kak lake," referring to the ongoing development by Shukaku Inc that has displaced residents living around the lake.

Veth Darith, chief of Boeung Kak I commune, said the government was not obligated to offer anything on the scale of the compensation for former Boeung Kak residents because the land along the railway already belongs to the government.

But he did say some compensation would be available for some residents.

"If a family is required to remove their entire house, and they have no land elsewhere, then we can provide land for them elsewhere. For those who already own other land, we will not give any further assistance," he said.

He added that families who were to be partially affected by the upgrade would be compensated US$0.50 per square metre for the portion of their homes that required demolition, and that they would be allowed to remain on the site.

Chreang Sophan, Phnom Penh deputy governor, could not be reach for comment on Tuesday.

But Yit Bunna, an undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, said the government was adhering to compensation guidelines set down by the Asian Development Bank, though he provided no further details.

The upgrade follows an agreement in June with Australia's Toll Holdings to upgrade or rebuild sections of Cambodia's railways for integration into the Trans-Asia Railway that is to stretch from Singapore to Kunming in southwestern China.

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