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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Protected land given to private company

Protected land given to private company

Protected land given to private company

The government has awarded nearly 10,000 hectares of land previously part of a wildlife sanctuary in Preah Vihear province to a private company to develop agro-industry and plant rubber trees, according to a letter issued by the Council of Ministers.

The letter, dated May 5 and obtained The Post yesterday, is addressed to the Ministry of Environment. It states that Prime Minister Hun Sen has approved a 70-year lease for Try Pheap Import Export Co Ltd to develop 9,916 hectares of land in the Boeung Pe wildlife sanctuary in Rovieng district’s Romny commune.

Deputy provincial governor Sar Thavy declined to comment yesterday. Khoy Chanrath, director of the provincial environment department, could not be reached for comment.

Romny resident Svay Choeun, 53, said yesterday that the concession would damage the environment in addition to harming local livelihoods.

“We are wondering how the government granted that protection area to the company,” he said. “How they can do that?”

Local villagers will lose money they earn from developing tree-based products as a result of the concession, Chut Wutty, director of Natural Resource Protection Group NGO, said yesterday.

Thuk Kroeun Vutha, secretary of state at the Environment Ministry, could not be reached for comment. Contact details for Try Pheap were not available.

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