The government has rejected a construction company's proposal made to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Kandal Provincial Administration to purchase a 1,000ha portion of a lake for a new development project in Kandal's Lvea Em district.
According to a letter from Hing Thorasy, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers, dated August 27 and seen by The Post on September 2, the project proposed by the firm, Win-Win, is located in the district's Barong commune.
"The location that the company requested for development is currently the site of a natural lake in public use. This lake must be conserved and preferably even deepened for water conservation purposes rather than filled-in. The ministry and the provincial administration must stop accepting or submitting proposals regarding this area", Thorasy wrote in the letter.
Agriculture minister Veng Sakhon could not be reached for comment on September 2.
Provincial governor Kong Sophoan told The Post that the Win-Win had approached his administration for approval of the purchase of the lake portion to develop it. Since the lake is state property and the company wanted to develop it, the provincial administration needed to submit their proposal to the government for consideration and a decision.
"At this time, we have been given new guidelines from the national leadership telling us to preserve it as a natural lake and find ways to dig it deeper to store water for public use. So we need to follow the guidance," he said.
According to Sophoan, so far the provincial administration has no definite plans to excavate the lake bed further, but he expects that the project will proceed through the usual planning steps which can take time.
He said the project may end up being a national government undertaking because the estimated costs are in the millions of dollars.