Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Cambodia’s government has announced it will halt construction of a railway in Phnom Penh due to protests from local villagers.
The railway will connect the capital city to the airport starting from Taing Krosang Pagoda and then running through Por Sen Chey district and finally linking up with the Preah Sihanouk track which currently runs past the airport.
Residents of the district have been protesting the construction of the railway over the last few weeks, saying they had not been consulted on the railway and the project lacks transparency.
Undersecretary of state Ly Borin told residents that construction of the railway would not continue until after they had come to an agreement with local stakeholders.
‘For the construction, we have already asked the company to halt it so that we can find a solution that suits the ministry, the builders and the villagers’ Ly Borin added.
Housing Rights Task Force executive director Sia Phearum said most residents in Por Sen Chey district support the project and that he hopes a dialogue between locals and officials involved in the project will be dispel their fears. In part the protests are due to a belief that residents will be evicted to make way for new developments.
Property developers have already touted the railway as a key to increasing investment in real estate. Oknha Ly Kun Thai, CEO of The Gateway project a mixed commercial and residential development, has said ‘this new railway is quite essential for Cambodia because Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) will increase commercial developments. Better and improved transportation infrastructure in the area will boost property prices and rental yield.’
Cambodia’s Royal Railways had intended to hold a ground breaking ceremony in March 2018, however reports came out that construction began back in June.
Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen has said the cost of the railway would be around $800 million.