The Battambang Provincial Administration has announced that it has a project to develop Roluos Lake in Peam Ek commune’s Takorm village of Ek Phnom district with the goal of protecting the lake as a sustainable tourist resort and preventing encroachment.
Provincial deputy governor Soeum Bunrith told The Post on June 14 that the provincial administration is leading the development of the lake in line with the vision of four directions of development around Battambang town.
He said the lake covers 10ha and was previously shallow. Having seen the situation, residents had asked the province for permission through the commune and district authorities to dig the lake deeper. The administration then allowed the district authorities to dig it deeper so that it could provide water for irrigating agricultural land.
However, once the lake’s depth was increased without any measures to compensate for further flooding so the administration had planted trees around the lake to green the area and make it a recreational waterway since it lies close to town. The administration has plans to plant 1,600 more trees and turn the lake into a tourist attraction to improve the local economy.
“We’ve prepared to develop it into green cover – it has a good environment for planting trees, preparing recreation and sports facilities and market area. The development also contributes to the promotion of people’s livelihoods when they increase their income by selling food, souvenirs and planting organic fruits and vegetables or taking tourists on a tour of this area,” Bunrith said.
Peam Ek commune chief Uong Saron welcomed the project, saying that over 100 families had previously been wary of it because they did not yet understand the project.
He added that they did not understand the situation clearly because originally they asked the administration to dig the lake deeper to irrigate their rice fields and after they did that then the administration prepared to develop it into a tourist resort without notifying them, so they reacted badly.
Now, however, the commune hall has helped them understand more about the benefits of the project.
“When there was a fierce dispute, it was when the lake had been dug deeper and then surrounded with fencing, making it difficult to enter and exit the area. They said that we fenced it for sales to a private company. So, they reacted badly to that and we pulled down the fence to open entrances as requested by rice field owners,” he said.
He added that the land in the area is now being cleared so it can be planted with trees and an office will be opened to sell plots of land. Tourists are expected to increase gradually over time.
Bunrith said that the administration set a goal of developing out in all four directions – the southern town with Banan temple and its surrounding areas; the northern town with Ek Phnom Temple and areas around Roluos and Takorm lakes.
In addition, the administration in cooperation with local authorities continued to inspect and develop plans for the western side of town – Phnom Sampov Temple and its surrounding areas, and the eastern side of town with Baset Temple and its surrounding areas.