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

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.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’