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Neighbouring villages share dredging worries

Men operate what locals claim to be a sand-dredging apparatus along a river straddling Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey yesterday. Photo supplied
Men operate what locals claim to be a sand-dredging apparatus along a river straddling Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey yesterday. Photo supplied

Neighbouring villages share dredging worries

Locals in Siem Reap province’s Kralanh district and Banteay Meanchey’s Preah Netr Preah district yesterday alleged that a sand-dredging company is polluting a river that straddles the two districts and stoking fears of bank collapse.

Keo Ly, 45, an Ou’Thkov village resident, said yesterday that a local dredging business owned by a man named Srey Kuy is taking sand from the river bordering Phnom Touch village.

“Machine oil floats on the water’s surface and it makes our daily lives difficult. Our skin gets itchy when we bathe in it,” said Ly.

Hol Kimthon, chief of Teuk Chor commune, said that though the dredging firm placed its machines on the riverbank opposite his village, residents of Teuk Chor are also at risk.

“Our people use the river water, so when the water is polluted, it will affect our health,” Kimthon explained.

“The sand could cause landslides that could destroy our homes and farmland,” she added.

Yesterday, Sok Naret, the Kralanh District Hall administration chief, said that while his office had investigating alleged wrongdoing on behalf of the company last year, he had not been informed of the latest dredging allegations.

“No sand-dredging licence was offered, but our team will inspect the business on Wednesday. If there is covert and illegal sand dredging, we will take legal action,” he said.

Contact information for the company could not be obtained yesterday.

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