Municipality Forbids Land Grabbing at Lake

Land grabbing at a Phnom Penh lake that used to hold the city’s sewage water must stop, municipal officials said on Monday.

Municipal officials issued the order last week to ban the buying and selling of land at Boeng Tumpun lake in Meanchey district, a practice that began after the municipality started pumping  waste water to outlying areas late last year, thus draining the lake.

“This is the municipality’s dir­ect­ive—to protect the lake,” Mun­ic­i­pal Cabinet Chief Mann Chhoeun said Monday.

At the lake Monday, several posts marked where people had laid claim to land—but no houses were yet erected within the lake. In some areas just inside the lake shore, prospective owners had filled the land with dirt in order to cul­tivate crops.

“Many people are breaking the law and grabbing land,” Mean­chey district Governor Chhun Chhorn said Monday, adding the city needs the lake to hold flood water during the wet season. “Those people are not poor. The people who grabbed the land are rich people who hired poor people to guard it and grow water grass.”

Boeng Tumpun commune Chief Bin Loan said he was not aware of the new directive Mon­day. He said local authorities have pro­hibited people from building houses on the lake for more than a year.

The directive, signed May 18 by Municipal Governor Kep Chuktema, comes as the mun­icipal­ity announced its plans Mon­day to improve the lives of ur­ban poor in 100 communities each year from 2004 to 2009.

Two major projects, funded with more than $1.8 million from the Japanese and German governments, will provide people in slum areas with education on their rights, job opportunities and home care, along with micro-credit loans for generating local income and repairing houses, Kep Chuktema announced at the first day of a two-day workshop on the project.

 

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA new weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.