Opposition leader Sam Rainsy met with families still living along the railway in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kok district on Thursday to pledge his support in their campaign to ensure that an Asian Development Bank-funded railway rehabilitation project does not leave them worse off, as it has for hundreds of other families in the city.
Construction of the site for the cremation of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk will cost a whopping $5 million, a member of the Royal Cabinet said yesterday.
“The Royal Cabinet has not been involved in planning the cremation, but I have been told that it will cost about $5 million just for the building,” said Prince Sisowath Thomico, the spokesman for the Royal Cabinet and former assistant to the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk.
Phnom Penh municipal spokesman Long Dimanche said that the Ministry of the Royal Palace had taken charge of the cremation site construction.
However, Ieng Panhaka, a senior minister at the Ministry of the Royal Palace, said he knew nothing about the construction of the cremation site, or how the events around the late King Father’s cremation would be organized.
Vispan Co. Ltd., which is owned by Kong Panya, the daughter of Kong Sam Ol, Minister of the Royal Palace, is one of the companies involved in the project.
“Our company is providing the workers to build the cremation site for King Father Norodom Sihanouk,” said Vispan architect Kim Eng.
Hundreds of laborers, many wearing Vispan T-shirts and lanyards, were working at the site yesterday, where metal supports have begun to form a skeleton of the buildings that will form the center of the late King’s cremation ceremony.
Architectural plans for the site seen yesterday show a central spire in which the late King Father is to be cremated in February.
The spire will be surrounded by a 10-meter-deep sheltered viewing area stretching about 100 meters by 100 meters inside Veal Mean, the park in front of the National Museum. The plans also show a number of smaller buildings to be constructed inside the temporary complex, and a new fence will be built around the park.
The late King Father’s cremation site is not the first government building project in which Vispan has cooperated.
In a keynote address to mark the inauguration of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Peace Palace building in October 2010, Mr. Hun Sen thanked Mr. Sam Ol for overseeing the construction of the building and noted that Vispan was among the two Cambodian companies that had worked on its construction.
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