Railway families seek more cash from ADB

Source: Phnom Penh Post,By,Pech Sotheary,Tue, 23 June 2015

Some 50 people gathered in front of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) office yesterday to demand $8,000 per family in additional compensation for hardships suffered after being relocated from their homes in Phnom Penh to make way for a railway rehabilitation project in 2011.

Community representative Ros Bopha, 38, said yesterday that when the 148 families were moved to Por Sen Chey district’s Trapaing Krasaing commune, they were left far from the city centre and without jobs, sending the community into debt to pay for food and health care. The bank’s initial compensation package consisted of less than $1,000 and land plots measuring 105 square metres, and the new properties were soon being seized by debt collectors.

“Our economic situation is faced with suffering, and we demand ADB address our issues as promised,” Bopha said.

The bank, which co-founded the railroad revitalisation project with Australian firm Toll Holdings, has been criticised by watchdog organisations for not adhering to assurances that they would provide for the displaced community.

ADB official Januar Hakim, who accepted the petition, said he would consider the case and respond to the community within 20 days.

“I will bring the official letter to the bank director,” he said.

Bopha, meanwhile, said the community would protest again if they do not hear from the bank in the next three weeks.

“We [need] to settle the problems,” she said.