Authorities to cut utilities at illegal construction sites

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The measure follows a building collapse in Sihanoukville in June which killed 28 people. KT/Pann Rachana

Construction sites without permits in cities across the Kingdom could soon face a shortage of water as the government ramps up its effort to curb illegal development.

The government has been cracking down on illegal construction sites following the collapse of a seven-storey building still under construction in Preah Sihanouk province’s Sihanoukville on June 22. The collapse killed 28 and injured 26 others. Authorities said at the time that the owners lacked permits.

Cham Prasidh, Minister of Industry and Handicraft, in an instruction letter published on Sunday said owners of construction sites must provide documentation in order to have water connected to their projects.

Mr Prasidh said the measure was necessary in order to prevent illegal construction sites and ensure life, property and the safety of citizens.

He added that the measure applies to different types of commercial building projects, such as for factories and hotels either currently under construction or planned to be constructed.

“The connection of the clean water system to construction sites will only happen if there is sufficient documentation [permits, etc] from the ministry, [relevant] departments or local administrations,” Mr Prasidh said. “If necessary, [owners] must ask officials at the municipal and provincial land management departments to issue additional certifications in order to ensure clarity.”

Oum Sotha, spokesman for the Industry and Handicraft Ministry, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Chea Visoth, deputy director of Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority, yesterday said he has not yet received the letter, but PPWSA will implement the measure.

“The [instruction letter] could have been sent a little bit late, it’s not as fast as sharing on Facebook,” Mr Visoth said. “However, after receiving the instruction, PPWSA leaders will hold a meeting to deliberate on it accordingly.”

Neth Mony Ponnaka, director of the municipal industry and handicraft department, yesterday said that in July, two private water suppliers in Chroy Changva and Prek Pnov districts were told to suspend water supply to construction sites lacking permits.

“This instruction letter was a reminder from the ministry to ensure that the department of land management and other departments will immediately report any illegal construction sites,” Mr Mony Ponnaka said. “Once they do, we will cooperate with them in order to implement the suspension of clean water supply immediately.”

“However, we have not yet identified any cases of illegal construction, so we have not cut off water so far,” he added.

In addition, the Council of Ministers has also asked ministries and other government institutions to suspend the supply of electricity to construction sites lacking permits.

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