The Council of Ministers on Friday approved a plan to expand the nation’s capital by tacking on 27 communes from surrounding Kandal. Officials said yesterday that the plan would help Phnom Penh cope with its growing population.
“The city has a lot of human beings, as per its evolution,” Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said yesterday. “So we respond to the demand for land and demand for infrastructure and the demands of the economy.”
He said the plan was in line with the city’s longstanding goal to ease pressure on its increasingly congested core by expanding into surrounding Kandal province, but referred specific questions about the plan to City Hall.
Kandal provincial governor Chhun Sirun, however, said he expects the communes to come under the city’s administration in a few months.
“The reason this is urgent is because our prime minister, Hun Sen, said the population of Phnom Penh is increasing, and also because there is more traffic in the city,” he said. “So we need to add land to the city for development and infrastructure.”
According to the 2008 decennial census, more than 1.3 million people called Phnom Penh home. Neither Mr Siphan nor Mr Sirun knew how many people the city’s expansion would add to that figure, or to which city districts they would be added.
Mr Sirun said the Ministry of Interior would today convene a working group of ministry, provincial and city officials charged with putting the plan into effect.
He said the 27 communes would come from seven Kandal districts on all sides of the capital: six from Ang Snuol, five from Kandal Stung, five from Khsach Kandal, four from Kien Svay, three from Ponhea Leu, two from Lvea Em, and two from Mok Kampol.
Phnom Penh municipal governor Kep Chuktema could not be reached for comment yesterday. Other city officials referred questions to deputy municipal Cabinet chief Ly Saveit, who said he had no details about the plan. Kandal Stung district governor Choy Sobin said the five communes slated to join Phnom Penh from his own district would add 10,000 families alone.
The city added a new district in early 2009, creating Sen Sok district from three communes, Phnom Penh Thmei, Toek Thla and Khmuonh, which had formerly been incorporated in Russei Keo district.