Written by DAP NEWS
Friday, 04 September 2009
Phnom Penh’s development is continuing apace with investments in local and international companies, in high rises and other developments. Koh Pich (diamond island) is the latest.
The island originally appeared in the river near NagaWorld in 1984 and has become bigger and bigger since.
Formerly covered only with grass and anarchic ramshackle dwellings, the island is will see a major investment after the Cambodian Governm- ent’s sub degree approval to OCIC of Pung Kheav Se to make develop it into a new suburb.
Kep Chutema, Phnom Penh governor, told reporters that the island, formerly a den of iniquity and crime, now will be developed by the OCIC company.
“This island investment is author- ized properly by the Cambodian Government and this is to become a new city in Phnom Penh of which we are so proud as it is helping promote Cambodian livelihood in the near future,” said Kep Chutema.
Some questions have been raised over residents of the areas who have been evicted, environment concerns, especially the water flow which has changed.
The Environment Impact Assess- ment (EIA) was apparently deemed to be very important.
Ministry of Water Resource and Meteorology officials accompanied Phnom Penh authorities along with Investment company directors on Thursday had a tour for checking and following the process of developing the island.
Following investigations, Lim Kean Hor, Lake, River Limitation Committee head and Cambodian Mekong River Committee head, confirmed that “This company has not developed and invested in abuses of the Cambodian Government’s authority.”
However, the minister asked the company president to build bank protections to avoid erosion that could affect other local residents.
“Two years ago, my investment faced some problems with the citizens who lived along the river bank as we had to need their some part of land size to build bank protection so that all of them were unhappy,” Pung Kheav Se told reporters. “We have to keep wide face of water flow and if some part of land is occurring, we have to cut it off in order to avoid flood which leads to river bank collapse.”
“This bank protection is to be built for 3 km soon,” Lim Kean Hor said. “The water flow from Mekong through Bassac River is very narrow so that some part of land has to be taken off.”
The investment company head also confirmed that his companies has so far spent around US$55 million on the island, though progress has slowed due to the impact of the global economic crisis.
“Some expert officials working in Environment Impact Assessment from China and Vietnam showed their similar result of EIA with Cambodian expert officials.”
Cambodian expert officials must now be careful to follow the assessment of this island investment as it could have major implications for the Mekong River.