Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry vows to take some ELC land back

Allegedly illegally felled timber sits in an ELC owned by Try Pheap last year
Allegedly illegally felled timber sits in an ELC owned by Try Pheap last year. The Ministry of Environment is implementing a new mechanism to monitor timber processing in ELCs. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Ministry vows to take some ELC land back

Amid promises reiterated by the government yesterday that it will take a tougher stance on economic land concessions, logging tycoon Try Pheap minimally reduced his sweeping natural resource empire, returning more than 20,000 hectares of undeveloped forestry.

It was unclear what kind of arrangement prompted Pheap to give back land inside Ratanakkiri’s Virachey National Park, as Environment Minister Say Sam Al provided no reasoning for the announcement and Pheap could not be reached for comment.

Sam Al did say that concessionaires who do not use their land will see their property repossessed.

“We will urge [ELC] companies to follow their master plan, and if they do not conscientiously do so, or have enough money to complete their intentions, we will seize the land back,” Sam Al said.

Nearly a third of the Virachey National Park’s territory has been granted as ELCs, with a small handful of different companies, including the Try Pheap Company, owning over 100,000 hectares of the park, according to Chhay Thy, Ratanakkiri provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc.

Thy added that the Try Pheap Company did not develop its portion of the granted land.

In addition to announcing Pheap’s returned property yesterday, Sam Al also said that in order to further protect biodiversity and forest coverage, the government will soon levy a tax on concessionaires wishing to clear forested areas.

However, he was not forthcoming on precise details, including how much would be charged or how such a mechanism could be enforced.

He did stress that any collected timber would need to be reported and that furniture makers will have to specify their wood suppliers.

“The timber-processing places need to be rechecked,” he said. “We must know the sources of the timber and where they come from.”

In Ratanakkiri, the government has granted concessions to a total of 30 international and national companies, supplying them with a total of nearly 136,000 hectares of land.

0

Comments

Please, login or register to post a comment

Latest Video

Bodies of Cambodian peacekeepers returned to Kingdom

The bodies of four Cambodian peacekeepers killed by a Christian militia in Central African Republic were repatriated to the Kingdom and honoured in an airport ceremony on May 21.

Phnom Penh eats: Ptas Nak Battambang

As the name suggests, Ptsa Nak Battambang – which in English means Battambang's house – is the right place for those who want to try some of the province's typical dishes in Phnom Penh.

Military police stand guard outside a polling station that was allegedly prematurely closed to eligible voters during the 2013 general election in Kandal province. Photo supplied

The Ministry of Defence on Friday lashed out at civil society and election monitoring groups, claiming a

Opposition leader Kem Sokha uses his hat to gesture to supporters during a campaign rally yesterday in Siem Reap province. Facebook

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday threatened to unleash war on the opposition party if he loses patience with their campaign for the June 4 commune