A new city in Cambodia’s eastern Tbong Khmum province is underway after disputes with local families affected by the development were settled, according to a senior official.
Prach Chan, Tbong Khmum provincial governor, told Post Property that the foundation for the city’s administration building has already been built.
In addition, a connecting road between National Roads 7 and 73, along with a water reservoir capable of holding 3 million cubic metres of water, are being developed as well.
“The priority for the province is to build buildings for work as well as infrastructure. The reservoir will not only be used to supply the city, but also to promote its landscape,” Chan said.
“The city covers 2,000 hectares and is expected to expand thanks to population growth.”
While plans for the city are ambitious, details on its eventual opening are scant, while the amount of compensation provided to families has not been disclosed by authorites.
Ly Chhuong Construction Import & Export is developing the city’s infrastructure, and will compensate the families gradually.
A high-level manager at the firm who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that if the process runs smoothly the creation of the new city should finish according to plan.
However, he declined to provide any details of the plan nor its exact date of completion.
Tbong Khmum City is 50 kilometres away from Kampong Cham, the province Tbong Khmum was carved out of in 2013.
The province was created on the recommendation of Prime Minister Hun Sen several months after the premier lost Kampong Cham in the July 2013 elections, leading to accusations of gerrymandering from the opposition.
Officials said at the time that the move was made to improve administrative efficiencies in the heavily populated province.
Tbong Khmum province has six districts and two cities, Tbong Khmum and Suong, with a population of around one million in total.
Dr. Peng Hong Socheat Khemro, general director of Ministry’s Housing Department for the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, will design Tbong Khmum city’s infrastructure and master plan.
According to Khemro, the city will be built according to a speech Hun Sen gave explaining why Kampong Cham should be split into two.
Kampong Cham previously had a population of about 2 million people, including a high migrant population.
The split was decided to enhance the relationship between the local people and government and boost public services to local residents, said Peng.
Four different road systems will crisscross the city.
Road A, a twin road, will have three lanes for cars, motorcycles and a pedestrian path, including a road median in the middle of the road. Road B will have three lanes, as well, while Road C will have two lanes – one for motorcycles and bicycles and another for pedestrians.
Road D will have a lane for cars and an additional lane for motorcycles, said Peng.
Peng said Tbong Khmum’s infrastructure plan focuses on seven key priorities, starting with the administrative area, which is being built for maximize the efficiency of public services.
Next on the list is the commercial area, which will include retail and shopping outlets. Infrastructure will be designed to ease traffic for both local and exported goods.
Third down the list is the agricultural and industrial area, which will aim to increase harvest yields to turn them into finalised products in a new special economic zone.
Ecotourism is the fourth priority, with the administration cordoning off natural areas in the province’s untouched plains, while the fifth priority is to preserve the ten existing ancient temples as historical tourism sites.
Building an education centre for local research is the sixth priority, while the last priority is building a residential area to serve locals.
Although Peng said that creating a new province was beneficial and that the city’s creation is a historical event, he has concerns on how the government will build infrastructure in the little-developed territory.
Sung Bonna, director of Bonna Realty Group, said that the new city’s land prices will increase or decrease depending on whether people decide to move there.
“If there are few people in the area with no future potential [increase], the growth of the province will decrease slowly over time,” he said.
“However, if the area is built up with amenities and proper infrastructure, it will attract more people to move and live in the province.”