Thursday, March 18, 2010

Siem Reap government buildings swapped with private company

This just in:
Phnom Penh - The local government in Cambodia's tourist hub of Siem Reap is to relocate outside the city next month in an opaque property swap that is to see a private company take over government buildings, many on prime riverfront land, national media reported Thursday. The news followed a number of similar reports about swaps of government land in central Phnom Penh, which has rocketed in value in recent years, for cheaper land outside the capital. Details of the deals are seldom made public.

Siem Reap Deputy Governor Bun Tharith told the Cambodia Daily newspaper that every provincial government department would move to the new site except one, the meteorology office, whose specialized equipment means it has to stay in the city.

"It is a special plan, and it is good for providing efficient services," he said. "The old buildings will be handed over to the company for investment. This happens in every developed country."

However, neither he nor the Ministry of Interior, which has authority over the deal, would be drawn on the details of the land swap or the cost of the new 42-hectare site, which is located 16 kilometres from the city centre.

Siem Reap is home to the Angkor Wat temple complex, which draws millions of local and foreign tourists each year.

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