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Central Market vendors up in arms about renovations

Central Market vendors up in arms about renovations

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While municipal officials have set up an office for vendor complaints, stall downsizing seems to be going ahead

HENG CHIVOAN

Anger and ink: vendors thumbprinting a complaint to City Hall.

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Phnom Penh municipal officials have set up a temporary office at Central Market to receive complaints from vendors angered over the planned downsizing of their stores during renovations.

The office was established after a meeting between Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema, Deputy Governor Mob Sarin, and around 500 dissatisfied vendors at the City Hall on Tuesday.

"The meeting has not been fruitful for us. The government set up the office for complaints but I believe that there will be no solution," said clothing vendor Chhieng Eng. "We want our stalls to remain the same size, but the authority cannot guarantee this."

Kep Chuktema confirmed that the renovations will affect the vendors but said he will take their complaints into account.

"If we kept the stalls the same size and in the same locations, our construction could not continue," he said.

Mob Sarin, also acknowledged that the renovations will have an impact on the vendors but expressed optimism about the alterations. "There will be three more toilet buildings and there will be a bigger house for trash and solid waste."

Thierry Dalimier, managing director for Kosan Engineering, which provides technical support to the project, said in an interview after the meeting with vendors that currently there are over 2,800 market stalls but that more stalls will be added. "We have no final figures at the moment on how many more stalls we will add but the size of vendor stalls will have to be reduced to accommodate the extensions," Dalimier  said.

"While now the market only has one major entrance, after the renovations we will have four major entrances and 12 smaller entrances," he added.

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