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Temple body plans public forum

Siem Reap province
APSARA Authority officials plan to hold a public forum “as soon as possible”, in order to explain rules concerning the construction of housing by villagers in Siem Reap’s Leang Dai commune.

Chrun Sophal, director of the authority’s communications department, said yesterday that, following an internal meeting, a forum would be held to discuss building restrictions in Leang Dai, which falls within the bounds of the Angkor temple park.

“We will hold the forum after meeting the Siem Reap governor [today],” he said. “We are trying to balance natural resources, the environment and the preservation of culture.”

In a letter dated July 23, opposition Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Ke Sovannarith criticised the Apsara Authority, which maintained the temple park, for preventing the commune’s 1,255 families from building new market stalls, a kindergarten and other facilities.

Contacted yesterday, Ke Sovannarith said that she supported the initiative to hold the forum because villagers were not sure what they were permitted to build. “The problem is not just in Leang Dai, but in other places as well,” she said. “The Apsara Authority should call all affected villagers to listen.”

In March, the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights organised a similar public forum, at which Apsara officials defended the rules aimed at preserving the Angkor temple park.

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