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Construction in capital ‘lacks proper planning’

Construction sites on Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich. A report from the World Bank has found the capital’s urban boom has occurred largely without proper planning.
Construction sites on Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich. A report from the World Bank has found the capital’s urban boom has occurred largely without proper planning. Heng Chivoan

Construction in capital ‘lacks proper planning’

The World Bank yesterday pointed to a lack of clarity and coordination among government bodies in tackling rapid urbanisation and in implementing plans for Phnom Penh.

Its report, titled Urban Development In Phnom Penh and released yesterday, shows that while Phnom Penh’s population has steadily grown, and is expected to reach 3 million by 2035, infrastructure, transportation, sewage and drainage – and even regulatory needs like zoning – have not kept up.

It also found that a number of ministries, their Phnom Penh departments and City Hall have been unable to implement existing plans in a “comprehensive manner”.

“Various sectoral master plans and feasibility studies for urban transport, drainage, water supply, sewerage and wastewater treatment have been drawn up by JICA [Japan International Cooperation Agency], ADB [Asian Development Bank] and other donors, however there is no entity to oversee urban planning and development in a comprehensive manner,” the report reads.

Other criticisms include the construction of big retail and housing projects burdening existing infrastructure, a lack of detail in a much-touted master plan and the exclusion of the urban poor from positive developments in the city.

City Hall spokesman Met Measpheakdey said certain pockets of poor city-dwellers were being moved away from drainage and sewage canals to improve their standard of living.

On the coordination front, he said City Hall is the central body for implementation but that development agencies choose to work directly with ministries rather than with local authorities.

“World Bank generally focuses on the ministries and not directly with City Hall. They ask ministries for information and not us,” he said.

The ministries of land management and planning could not be reached yesterday.

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