The Apsara National Authority (ANA) said that in the first half of this year their community team had allowed people in the Angkor Archaeological Park area to repair more than 800 houses and build light constructions, while nearly 1,400 more requests were still under examination.
In a Facebook post on June 23, ANA said there were outstanding requests in various districts –119 in Prasat Bakong; 213 in Angkor Thom; 120 in Puok; 191 in Siem Reap town; and 193 in Banteay Srei. There are also 29 requests to the ANA community team from those residing outside of the Angkor park area.
“In the first semester of 2021, the ANA community team has ... examined requests and allowed for repairs and small constructions [to take place] in five target districts/town in and outside the Angkor Park. There are 1,399 requests, 865 of which were granted,” it said.
Additionally, the team had joined in some humanitarian and religious works to assist some elderly people, disabled persons, sick children and impoverished families by providing them with money and items of daily necessities.
They had also joined other programmes in those communities and met with residents. They addressed requests in 112 villages inside and outside the Angkor park area, ANA said.
“The team will continue its goals of disseminating [information] and educating people to understand about the ANA’s role and the duty of [caring for] the land in the protected areas of the Angkor park and the procedures for applications for home and building repairs in the park in a more effective and timely manner,” it said.
ANA spokesman Long Kosal said that under the law, people who have lived for a long time in the first and second protected areas of the Angkor park can continue to live there and will not be evicted from their homes.
He added that those villagers can repair or dismantle their condemned homes and replace them with new ones in the same location with ANA’s permission. They can make requests without having to pay a fee, but the construction of new houses was not allowed.
“So far, it has been good because people submitted application forms correctly and according to legal procedures. But there are still offenders building [things] clandestinely. Our team just bans and pulls down those constructions according to legal principles,” he said.
Kosal added that houses in the Angkor area had increased in number because of growing population in the area, and the ANA was now taking a headcount of people to keep records up to date.