Banteay Meanchey provincial authorities are studying procedures to draft a proposal for the separation of three communes consisting of 31 villages in Poipet town.
It is due to the growing population and the complexity of local administration, according to Poipet town deputy governor Keo Dararasmey.
“The biggest reason is population factor. It means that the growing population is now beyond the management capacity of each village. So we want to separate them into more villages and communes as per the Ministry of Interior policy, which allows for only around 150 families per village. Currently, the number of families in each village is in the thousands,” he said.
According to Dararasmey, each commune and village might be separated into two depending on the actual population and geographical areas.
“Poipet commune might be divided into two – Poipet and O’Chrov communes. Phsar Kandal district might also be split into two – Phsar Kandal and O’Russey communes. Nimit commune might also be split into Nimith and Kon Damrei communes. And the 31 villages might be divided into 69 villages,” he said.
Deputy provincial governor Ly Sary said the meeting between the provincial and town administrations merely touched down on procedures to prepare documents for the separation.
He said experts were still conducting a study in the villages and communes.
“Experts are going to study technical standards and prepare documents for the interior ministry, which will then refer it [proposal] to the head of the government for a decision,” he said.
According to a Poipet town administration report, Poipet currently covers 2,731,342ha, with 1,334,066ha set for housing, 12,604ha for agriculture, 718ha for special economic zones and a lake area of 650ha.
There are currently 24,258 families, or 101,202 people including 50,654 females, living in the town.
Residents over the age of 18 number 61,527 people, 31,765 of them females.
Cambodian Institute for Democracy president Pa Chanroeun said that as per policy on municipal, provincial and town administration, local authorities can request the separation of villages or communes if there is an administrative need to facilitate the provision of public services to people.
But he said even if there is a territorial division, he said authorities should maintain the historical identity of each locality.
“It’s not wrong to divide villages and communes. But at the same time, [authorities] should not change their name, which leads to the loss of their historical significance because their name or history determine their identity,” he said.