During the first six months of this year, the Apsara National Authority (ANA) allowed 1,959 families living in Angkor to renovate their homes and build lightweight structures.
A report released on Monday said the ANA inspected the homes and construction sites of 2,639 families living in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor.
It said 211 families in Prasat Bakong district, 305 in Angkor Thom district, 442 in Puok district, 351 in Siem Reap town and 650 in Banteay Srei district received construction permits.
ANA spokesman and Department of Communication director Long Kosal said on Monday that the permits were issued after a community working group visited the houses and verified documents to ensure the families had lived in Angkor for a long time.
He said the renovations can be considered a contribution from citizens to maintaining the Angkor’s beauty. It also represents a shift in public service to be closer to citizens, he said.
Kosal said the ANA will allow repairs and replacements of roofs, walls and staircases. It will also allow the construction of toilets, chicken sheds and pig cages among others. Non-essential renovations will not be allowed.
Preah Dak village chief Loek Vornn said on Monday that it is located within the ANA’s management area. If people want to renovate any building, they must discuss it first with local authorities and submit a request to the ANA working group.
He said a week after the request, the ANA will provide a response to the citizens and a working group will inspect the sites.
“When a citizen wants to repair his house, he has to consult me and the commune chief, and then we recommend that they submit the request to the ANA secretariat’s community working groups which will give its feedback,” he said.
The ANA has set up five community working groups to facilitate the livelihood of the people in the Angkor area which covers 401sq km with five districts, 21 communes and 112 villages.
They aim to support the repair of old houses and the construction of light structures. They hope to address the challenges of citizens and spread awareness of the area’s heritage.