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Plans afoot to expand the capital through land rezoning

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One of the trademark roundabouts in Takhmao city, which is slated to have a substantial area of its land cut away and made a part of Phnom Penh. Moeun Nhean

Plans afoot to expand the capital through land rezoning

Along with Phnom Penh city hall, the government is planning to carve out and merge pieces of land from Takhmao city and Mok Kompoul district in Kandal province into Phnom Penh in the near future.

Heng Kheam, governor of Takhmao city, however, could not divulge any additional information.

At present, relevant departments from the Ministry of Interior and the Phnom Penh Municipality are still conducting analyses on the technical aspects of the project.

“From what I know, the total land area to be integrated into Phnom Penh city is approximately 300 hectares,” he confirmed.

While Kheam maintained that this was old news, he noted that he would be abiding by the government’s objectives. “I don’t know when this study or project will be complete,” he said, referring Post Property to the governor of Kandal province, Mao Phirun.

Phirun explained that the expansion plan has long been in the running for Phnom Penh, “therefore, we have no right to disobey the government’s wishes of expanding the city.”

Taing Menglean, administrator of the district of Mok Kompoul, declined to comment on the proposal, stating that he had inadequate information on the project.

According to details of the project, four sangkats in Takhmao city will be merged into Phnom Penh city – Sangkat Prek Ho, Sangkat Ta Kdol, Sangkat Prek Reusey, and Sangkat Derm Mean.

Today, Phnom Penh city sprawls over 678.5 square kilometres. While Phnom Penh’s population is said to be reaching three million, the last recorded census was in 2012, revealing a population of 1.5 million.

Mean Chanyada, deputy governor and spokesperson for Phnom Penh city hall, said the integration might pose problems for both Phnom Penh’s and Kandal’s administrations.

A part of the planned integration lies along the land being developed for the ING satellite city, which sits on the border of Phnom Penh and Kandal.

“It would be easier if ING were to be under the control of just one administration,” Chanyada noted, adding that a royal decree has already been declared for the area of Mok Kompoul to be assimilated into Phnom Penh city.

He continued, “Phnom Penh will not be that huge after the expansion; only the data figures will be changed.”

Vann Vat, an independent analyst on urbanisation, said that in terms of technicality, expanding the city is a pragmatic idea. Nevertheless, he believes the authorities should utilise the city’s remaining areas to avoid limited infrastructure development as can be foreseen that most of the focus would be placed on the city’s expansion.

“If we expand, have we thought about whether we have the potential for development? Because if we do [expand] without any further development whatsoever, it will not do our nation credit.”

According to the initial blueprint, said Vat, Phnom Penh city hall had requested for 676 hectares of land from Kandal province, but the province refused, and counter-proposed a land plot to the tune of 300 hectares.

He further said that expanding the city will certainly provide immense benefits by garnering increased economic development and an improvement in living standards.

But, with land expansions comes the problem of the uptick in human habitat.

“This can also create many drawbacks to the city administration to manage the people and the issue of employment, because there is now an alarming increase in the capital’s population, and will continue to have,” Vat said.

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