Boeung Kak area is a natural lake which has 133 hectares in total size (both lake surface and lake side area) of which the lake surface has 104 hectares located in a cluster of 10 villages equal to 303 organized groups of people, Srah Chak commune, Khan (district) Daun Penh, and the remaining part is located in Sangkat (commune) Boeung Kak 1 and Sangkat (commune) Boeung Kak 2, Khan (district) Tuol Kork , Phnom Penh Capital City or municipality of Phnom Penh. Before becoming an attractive natural park in 1987-1988 this area was under the administrative supervision of Phnom Penh People Revolution Committee (the municipality of Phnom Penh, today), and there were no people living there. Since the Paris Peace Agreement followed by the repatriation of political immigrants from the border areas in 1993, there were some people who took the opportunity to occupy land and erect disorganized building structure and this number kept on increasing when the refugees repatriation from camps along the border areas took place until today.
Overview of Water Reservoir area and Boeung Kak Area in Phnom Penh Capital Hall
The municipality of Phnom Penh had cooperated with French specialized group
from Paris City Hall called APUR (Atelier Parisien d’Urbanisme), consisting of Mr. Francois Legrand, Ingenieur General and the Chief of Sewage Unit of Paris, Mrs. Christiane Blancot, architect and urbanologist of Paris, and Mr. Gillaume Stetein, Ph.D. of French hydrographical architecture, who had studied the hydraulic system and rainwater flow and sewage system in Phnom Penh. In the 4 districts area project, it was divided into 4 rain water catchment areas:
- Southern area: included southern part of Daun Penh district, the whole 7 Makara district, and Chamkar Mon district, for draining rain and sewage water to Boeung Trabek Water Reservoir which has a total of 26 hectares in size.
- Northern area: included most part of Chamkar Mon district for draining rain and sewage water to Boeung Salang canal and continuing the flow to Stoeung Mean Chey canal and to Boeung Tumpun Lake which has a total of 47hectares in size.
- North-western area: included Boeung Kak 1 commune in Tuol Kok district to a canal behind Royal University of Phnom Penh and pump out to Trorlaok Bek canal and another part flow to a small reservoir near Boeung Kak and pump across dam 70 near railway line to O Veng canal.
- Northern area: included northern part of Daun Penh district starting from Railway Station Park to Phsar Tauch and Old Stadium. In this area rain and sewage water flow directly to the river (Tonle Sap) with pumping machines at the Old Market and Preah Kumlung Park.
On the other hand, Boeung Kak was not playing a role as rainwater reservoir, but only for receiving waste water from nearby area which specifically are from disorganized and anarchic building area only.
There was later on, a study by JICA specialized group between 2000 and 2002 on a Flood Control Project which was not included Boeung Kak as a water storing reservoir neither, because Boeung Kak had no criteria to be a rainwater storing place as other reservoirs.
After that between 2002 and 2004, France had studied the Municipality of Phnom Penh Project Master Plan for Development up to 2020. In that period, there was a project called Fonde de la Solidarite Prioritaire (FSP) that went into work with Atelier de Cergy Pontoise to organize an international bid for the development of Boeung Kak area under the reason that Boeung Kak is an abandoned area that required development and revitalization.
II- Reason behind the Development of BoeungKak Area
- Legal Aspect: Based on the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Land Law, Lakes are the Public Property of Government: - But it was violated by an increasing number of disorganized and anarchic buildings that local authorities could not manage;
- The encroachments on the lake surface were increasing, and may reach to a total loss even this is a government property, by law;
- The People who were living in that area also recognized that they want a decent living condition.
- Economic and Financial Aspects: - The Government cannot generate any income instead the government needs to spend to help this poor area, especially for their well-being, that led to expenses without any income in return.
- When there are a maximum number of buildings in the area, the development cost will be reaching a maximum too.
- Social and Living Aspects: - The health of the people living in this area will be degenerating due to bad environment;
- The people living in poor area cannot improve their living conditions in comparison with people living in town;
- It is difficult, even impossible to reduce risks and danger of fire that may happen anytime;
- Because there was an uncontrollable mixed renting by all kinds of people, this area turned to be an insecure place, shelter for criminals, gangsters, drugs dealers, prostitutes, and terrorists (such as the case of Am Ba Li and the case of CFF in 2000).
- Area with bad reputation in the mind of the people living in town (backpack tourism).
- Disappearance of national customs, traditions, and Khmer culture because of prostitution, drugs and robbery.
- Environmental Aspect: - Bad environment contains toxic wastes, lack of hygiene, and does not have good appearance.
- The surface of the lake water becomes like thick liquid that accumulates more and more toxic wastes from year to year (base on the experiments in the laboratory).
III. Development Work in Boeung Kak Area:
Based on the above aspects, since 2005 until today, the Royal Government had agreed in the implementation process of Boeung Kak Development Project of Shukaku Inc. According to Ordnance Letter No. 584 (Letter no. 584 Sor Chor Nor ) dated April 08, 2005 of the Office of the Council of Ministers, the Royal Government had decided that the Municipality of Phnom Penh should discuss with Shukaku Inc. on Boeung Kak Development Project, and then provide comments to the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) through the single window processing system. In reference to Ordnance Letter No. 1( Letter no. 01 Sor Chor Nor) dated January 01, 2006 of the Office of the Council of Ministers, the Royal Government had decided to grant Shukaku Inc. the rights to develop this area to become the Centres for business, culture, tourism, housing and resorts with infrastructure such as roads, sewage system, green fields and entertainment halls to fit its rank as Pearl City and had delegated the powers to the Municipality of Phnom Penh to conduct study directly with the company in solving the people problems step by step under the government set- policies and to start filling soil in the Boeung Kak development area.
Afterwards the Royal Government did the conversion of 126.86 hectares from Public Property of the Government to Private Property of the Government under the Letter No. 71 ONKR.BK dated July 20, 2011 granting Shukaku Inc. Company the rights to the development.
In cooperation with Shukaku Inc. Company the Municipality of Phnom Penh had solved the problems for the people under the government set-policies by implementing the spirit of the Ordnance No. 1200 ( Letter no. 1200 Sor Chor Nor) dated September15, 2008 of the Office of the Council of Ministers in 3 formulas: First option: provide a lump-sum of 8,000USD and 2,000,000Riel per house; Second option: provide one flat on the ground-floor of 4m x 12m in size located in Dangkor district plus 2,000,000Riel per house; and Third option: do the on-site development that requires people to stay temporarily in the location that will be arranged by the municipality of Phnom Penh while waiting Boeung Kak area to complete its sand-filling and construct buildings similarly to Borey Keila building structure. As a result, there were 3,000 houses that people voluntarily accept the government-set policies with the remaining of about 700 families who do not accept the government-set policies, but who request for on-site development.
Based on the above requisition from the people, the Royal Government issued a Sub Decree no. 183 ONKR.BK dated August 11, 2011 with the decision to adjust the size of Boeung Kak development area by excluding 12.44 hectares from the development for giving to the people for actual occupation in accordance to the map with definite boundaries that has coordinates, and attached in Annex 1 of this Sub Decree. However there are more than 40 houses that are still located in Boeung Kak development of Shukaku Inc. Company.
In order to implement Sub Decree no. 183
with efficiency, the Municipality of Phnom Penh had issued an organized plan for urgent implementation by establishing committee and technical specialized group to take measurement for issuing land title to Boeung Kak residents of the size of land that they are really holding and the ceremony for handing over the land title to the people was already organized three times which equal in total of 631 titles for people who live in village 6, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24.
On the other hand, the Municipality of Phnom Penh had also invited people of more than 40 houses that located in the development area of the company to come for negotiations to solve the problems under the government-set policies at a high rate or approximately the same as the market price for several times already, and 13 houses among the 40 houses had agreed to accept the government-set policies and had agreed to leave Boeung Kak development area. The municipality of Phnom Penh is continuing to negotiate with the remaining houses to solve the problems under the government-set policies and close the issue of Boeung Kak for good.
Phnom Penh, June , 2012
Capital Hall of Phnom Penh