Prime Minister Hun Sen is standing firm by the government decision to cede the Boeng Tamouk Lake for development, despite criticism.
The Premier added he is tired of some groups who still keep criticising the development project and the reclamation of land from the lake.
As per the geographical area of Phnom Penh, Mr Hun Sen said it is covered by lakes and canals and reclamation of land has been done by previous rulers to meet the development and growth of the capital to benefit the people and their needs.
Mr Hun Sen said only a small group of people have come up against the proposed development and thus it cannot interfere with the development.
“We have Boeng Reang, Boeng Prolit, Boeng Keng Kang, then why it cannot be reclaimed, in case it needs to be developed. The previous generations could do it, why can’t my generation do it? The reclamation for development is not only in Cambodia, some countries have even wiped out the sea to take land for development,” he stated.
Executive Director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability San Chey said that according to the history of Tamouk Lake, there are people living around the lake and they depend on fishing for their livelihood.
“Fishing is their traditional business, it’s not easy to change how they are living,” he said.
Chey said that it is important to preserve the lake to prevent flooding during the rainy season. The lake must have the ability to maintain the amount of water stored to prevent flooding in the surrounding area and secondly there is a need to conduct a study on its impact on the population who live in the area.
Keut Chhe, Phnom Penh deputy governor, said that there has been no meeting yet on how much land will be developed and how much will be left. “The government has conducted a study before developing the location.”
Meanwhile, the government has agreed to allow the construction of a concrete sheet pile retaining wall around the 13.3 hectares Boeng Trabek reservoir to prevent further erosion and to dig the upper reservoir to a deeper depth than the present to have sufficient capacity to store rainwater.
Mr Hun Sen issued a sub-decree recently, defining Boeng Trabek reservoir in Phnom Penh as public property of the state clearing the way for construction to begin.
Technical specifications will enable the pumping station to pump water down to the drainage system in the southern part of Phnom Penh. Officials must take strict administrative and legal measures if anyone tries to stop the construction or prevent the implementation of the project.
Mao Bunthoeun, director of the Department of Water Resources, said that the excavation of the reservoir has not yet started and he does not know how much it will cost.
Phnom Penh City Hall could not be reached for comment.