Still No Study On Impact of Filling Boeng Kak

Environment Minister Mok Mareth told the National Assembly on Wednesday that no environmental impact assessment had yet been conducted on the filling in of Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak lake.

SRP and Funcinpec lawmakers raised concerns at the Assembly that filling in the city-center lake would cause flooding and damage property belonging to nearby residents and businesses.

Following a question from Fun­cinpec lawmaker Monh Saphan re­garding the possible effects of filling in Boeng Kak, Mok Mareth said that there has not yet been an im­pact assessment.

“The lawmakers’ concerns are not wrong,” Mok Mareth told the Assembly, adding that Shukaku Inc, which holds a 99-year lease to develop 133 hectares of the lake and its surroundings, has hired an independent company to complete the assessment. The assessment, when completed, will be submitted to the Ministry of Environment to evaluate and de­cide whether the lake should be fill­ed, he said.

“We will study the impact of filling in the lake and how much lake to fill,” Mok Mareth said. “I want the National Assembly to trust the government [will] advise the company not to flood or affect the environment,” said the minister who was at the Assembly to defend the draft protected areas law.

Shukaku, using construction firm HSC Co Ltd, is currently constructing a pipeline between Boeng Kak and the Chroy Changva peninsula to pump sand into the lake.

Monh Saphan also asked Mok Mareth why the pipeline construction, which reportedly be­gan two weeks ago, was allowed to commence if an environmental assessment had not been com­pleted.

“By law, there must be a study first,” Monh Saphan said. He also said that no impact assessment had been carried out prior to the development, which is ongoing, of Koh Pich island near the new National Assembly. A substantial riverbank collapse earlier this month was blamed on Koh Pich’s development.

Before Mok Mareth could re­spond to Monh Saphan’s comment, Assembly President Heng Samrin announced that the de­bate was over and instructed the minister to answer the question when the Assembly reconvenes today.

Mao Hak, director of the Min­istry of Water Resources’ meteorology department, said that his ministry decided Wed­nesday to issue a directive to Shukaku, ordering it to build two separate pipelines–one for sewage and another for excess rainwater–that would run out of Boeng Kak to pre­vent flooding. “There will be no problem with flooded water, if the company complies with the directive,” Mao Hak said, adding that the Council of Ministers issued a notice to Shukaku stating that 10 hectares of the 133-hectare lake must be left unfilled.

Lao Meng Khin, who is president of Shukaku Inc and also of prominent Phnom Penh-based firm Pheapimex, could not be reached for comment.

Municipal Deputy Governor Pa Socheatvong declined to comment Wednesday on the environmental effects of filling in Boeng Kak or why an assessment was not required from Shukaku be­fore construction of the pipe­line began.

Monh Saphan also asked Mok Mareth why the pipeline construction, which reportedly began two weeks ago, was allowed to commence if an environmental assessment had not been completed.

“By law, there must be a study first,” Monh Saphan said. He also said that no impact assessment had been carried out prior to the development, which is ongoing, of Koh Pich island near the new National Assembly. A substantial riverbank collapse earlier this month was blamed on Koh Pich’s development.

Before Mok Mareth could respond to Monh Saphan’s comment, Assembly President Heng Samrin announced that the debate was over and instructed the minister to answer the question when the Assembly reconvenes today.

Mao Hak, director of the Ministry of Water Resources’ meteorology department, said that his ministry decided Wednesday to issue a directive to Shukaku, ordering it to build two separate pipelines-one for sewage and another for excess rainwater-that would run out of Boeng Kak to prevent flooding.

“There will be no problem with flooded water, if the company complies with the directive,” Mao Hak said, adding that the Council of Ministers issued a notice to Shukaku stating that 10 hectares of the 133-hectare lake must be left unfilled.

Lao Meng Khin, who is president of Shukaku Inc and also of prominent local firm Pheapimex, could not be reached for comment.

Municipal Deputy Governor Pa Socheatvong declined to comment Wednesday on the environmental effects of filling in Boeng Kak or why an assessment was not required from Shukaku before construction of the pipeline began.

 

 

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