The Apsara Authority has given approval to 134 families who live within the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap to build small structures and make minor renovations to their homes.
The authority’s spokesman, Long Kosal, said on Monday that in May alone, it received about 200 requests to build and renovate homes inside the park, but only 134 families were given approval after its officials verified the requests.
Approval was given for such constructions as balconies, latrines and small barns to house cattle, Kosal said.
“We cannot grant approval for the sake of it. We approve only those who live locally and are acknowledged by the local authorities as such. This is in accordance to the laws on heritage and technical standards of the requests,” he said.
The Apsara Authority is the government body that oversees the Angkor Archaeological Park, the Kingdom’s biggest tourist draw.
Kosal said that requests are often denied because the families aren’t from the area, but newcomers from other provinces.
“Some are just new arrivals, so they just relocated their families within the park, but they have no right to build their homes there,” he said.
On whether the recent approvals were an effort to win favour for the ruling Cambodia People’s Party ahead of the July 29 national elections, Kosal said: “Don’t talk about the elections. We don’t engage in politics at the Apsara Authority.”