Authorities in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district have dismantled more than 10 stalls that were illegally built on a drainage system and encroached on the road by 2m in Trapeang Krasang village and commune.
The demolition, led by deputy governor Suy Serith in the presence of governor Hem Darith, took place on October 11 following a direct order from municipal governor Khuong Sreng.
District deputy governor Pang Lida and his working group, who carried out the demolition work, told The Post on October 11 that the stalls had a single owner who had been breaking the law for a long time.
“We warned and gave [the owner] time to demolish the stalls by the end of the Pchum Ben holiday, but to no avail. Therefore, authorities decided to use tough measures to dismantle the structures,” he said.
According to Lida, for almost a year now, these illegal structures have encroached on the road and covered it in concrete by nearly 2m. On October 10, the owner continued construction by covering the outside with zinc cladding to allow people to build inside.
Institute for Road Safety director Kong Ratanak said the problem of land encroachment can occur due to three factors. First, local authorities may benefit from these constructions, which lets the problem persist.
Secondly, he said people also know that road encroachment is illegal. But they continue the abuse, thinking that it will benefit them when authorities are lax.
Thirdly, as Rattanak sees it, is that encroachment on land or public roads is because any action taken against violators is usually carried out by higher authorities and for any action to happen takes time.
“Regarding the measures, I don’t think they seem to be working well. I think authorities should find out why people build on public roads. In addition, we need to focus on strategies to prevent further abuse,” he said.