Prime Minister Hun Manet announced on Friday that Run Ta Ek would be turned into a new city in Siem Reap province where thousands of families, who were displaced from within the Angkor park area, are in the process of relocating there.
Hun Manet said this during his visit to Run Ta Ek village located in Banteay Srey district.
“There are thousands of families [in Run Ta Ek]. Soon, there will be an additional 6,000 families coming in. There will be infrastructure such as concrete and rubber roads, electricity and clean water. It deserves to be a city.
“I was impressed when I first saw the master plan before the land was cleared. This plan, in [developed] countries would be five-star resort level, is to organize the city in a good way. There is proper order and it [will be] a model city,” Hun Manet said.
He said the government and relevant authorities have developed the empty areas, which were once rice fields, featuring 300 lines of roads, including 200 lines of rubber roads and 55 lines of concrete road, as well as hospitals. In addition, the government will be providing 10 free buses to transport villagers to Siem Reap city.
Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Minister Say Sam Al said there are 9,897 families who have volunteered to relocate from the Angkor site, and 4,730 families have been relocated to Run Ta Ek.
In response to international communities, who criticized the government for evicting thousands of families from the Angkor site, Hun Manet said they (the critics) should come and see the development in a year’s time.
“Over the past, I have seen some international organizations and politicians take the opportunity to attack the government [saying that] people [were] dumped [there]. I think that you should come and see [the development] for yourself within a year.”
He said the government is acting to change things quickly, not leave the people behind. “We do it step by step by providing services and infrastructure. We have to keep doing it.
“It is not an easy decision, but if we do not work together, there is a risk of population growth [in Angkor site] which will affect the [Angkor temple] area or [result in its] removal from the [Unesco Heritage] list,” Hun Manet added.
Som Bun Chhoeun, 52, who was relocated to Run Ta Ek 10 months ago, told CamboJA that the Run Ta Ek City development is good news for the residents living there as most of them are unemployed while some travel to Siem Reap city for work.
He said the infrastructure at Run Ta Ek is “acceptable” for people living there but the problem is that people are unemployed.
“We are happy to hear [the announcement] because people here are unemployed,” Bun Chhoeun said.
“We have to go to work in the city and spend a lot of money on transportation. If there are development projects such as factories or other jobs for people here to work in, it is a good move,” he said. “If there is no development or factories, people will consider migration.”
In view of that, he hoped that Run Ta Ek development would complete soon so that people can earn an income.
He believed that Run Ta Ek city with Hun Manet’s promise of more roads, drainage and bus service to Siem Reap city, would improve their living conditions and support their livelihoods.
Peak Sneng commune Sok Sea said there are about 3,691 families who volunteered to relocate there, with instructure construction reaching 70 percent.
Additional reporting by Soeung Nimol