Official Critical of Capital’s Construction Boom

The deputy director of Phnom Penh’s land management and construction department outlined a litany of shortcomings in the municipality’s efforts to control the booming construction sector at the department’s annual meeting on Monday.

Mol Narin told department and City Hall officials that many construction projects begin without the proper permits and operate carelessly, according to a prepared transcript of his speech.

“Some construction begins without permission to run construction sites from the competent authority,” Mr. Narin said. “Some other construction sites receive the permission letter but construct the project differently than what was agreed upon; it causes problems for people who live next to them.”

According to an annual report presented at the meeting, the number of approved construction projects rose from 412 in 2013 to 429 in 2014, although the number of square meters under construction dipped from 4,527,376 to 2,705,000. The value of ongoing projects also dipped from roughly $1.5 billion to $914 million.

The report also states that 193 construction projects were found to be building without permits in 2014.

“The lawyers based in Phnom Penh City Hall have to organize documents to file with the court to ask for a warrant to stop all construction sites without permission letters,” Mr. Narin said, according to the transcript.

Mr. Narin added that the state of many construction sites has a negative impact on the city, and puts the lives of workers at risk.

“Some construction is built on canals and basins…[and] impacts the flowing of rainwater, causing flooding in some locations in Phnom Penh,” Mr. Narin said.

“Some construction sites are careless and do not pay attention [and do not] instruct workers to wear helmets, safety belts, or shoes, or build railings at the construction sites, resulting in worker deaths.”

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