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Lake reclamation permits revoked

Khann Chanvirak / Khmer Times Share:
The Ministry of Land Management building in Phnom Penh will be transferred to the Ministry of Rural Development. KT/Pann Rachana

The government has decided to revoke permits to reclaim about 30 hectares of Ta Mouk Lake for the construction of new buildings of some state institutions involved in relinquishing their present sites for private development.

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According to the Office of the Council of Ministers, letters of the revocation were sent to the respective state institutions on Monday.

The institutions had been given permission to reclaim portions of the lake between September and October.

According to the letters, the government had revoked the permission to reclaim 15 hectares of Ta Mouk Lake in Prek Pnov district for the construction of a new building for the Ministry of Rural Development which obtained a permit to relinquish its current 15.33 hectare site for development by TP Moral Group Co Ltd.

The letter also confirmed the revocation of permission to reclaim another 15 hectares of Ta Mouk Lake for the construction of new buildings for the National Committee for Disaster Management, the Cambodian Human Rights Committee and the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Authority.

It also revoked the permits for these institutions to relinquish their current sites to TP Moral Group for development.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan told Khmer Times yesterday that the government’s decision was to help prevent Ta Mouk Lake from being affected.

“The move is not because the government is facing economic problems because of the COVID-19 crisis and wants to reduce state spending. This is an environmentally friendly change and we are able to change the workplaces,” he said.

“It is also not because of the fear of flooding the capital, because we know the source of the flood and we know that there is no flood around Ta Mouk Lake because we have a stream that can send floodwaters to the Tonle Sap river.”

Executive director of Sahmakum Teang Tnaut Soeung Saran said yesterday that the government’s decision is a good one after it took into consideration the impact of reclaiming more of the lake.

“In the past, the public has seen that the government has cut off several hectares of Ta Mouk Lake for private companies and state institutions,” he said.

Saran added that at the same time, the public also wants to know about the report on the economic, social and environmental impacts on reclamation of the lake.

“We hope the government will reconsider reclaiming other lakes and give the public specific reasons for having to do so,” he said.

The letter from the Office of the Council of Ministers also states that the government has decided to hand over the current Ministry of Land Management building to the Ministry of Rural Development.

The Ministry of Land Management will move to a new location in Grand Phnom Penh.

The National Committee for Disaster Management, the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Authority, and the Cambodian Human Rights Committee will be relocated to the Ministry of Mines and Energy building. That ministry will relocate to the Transport Ministry building.

The Transport Ministry will move to a new location on Street 598 in the capital.

Director of the Phnom Penh Department of Land Management Sarin Vanna said yesterday he had already seen the government’s letter regarding the relocation of some ministries and institutions.

He said the Department of Land Management will be located within the Ministry of Rural Development when it moves to the Ministry of Land Management building.

“But I do not know when the Ministry of Land Management building will be built in Grand Phnom Penh. We will move in after that,” he said.

Ta Mouk Lake or Boeng Kob Srov is located in Phnom Penh and is governed by Sub-Decree No. 20, dated February 20, 2016, defining the lake area of 3,239 hectares for storing wastewater and releasing water from Phnom Penh.

The government has reclaimed some of it for the construction of vegetable markets, gardens and workplaces for government institutions.

 

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