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Apsara raises concerns over illegal construction in Angkor

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A graphic depicts the scale of deviation from original blueprints used by residents to obtain construction permits near Angkor Archaeological Park. apsara national authority

Apsara raises concerns over illegal construction in Angkor

The Apsara National Authority expressed concern over illegally built structures along Siem Reap’s Angkor resort area.

Apsara National Authority spokesman Long Kosal told The Post on Monday that many residents of the Angkor resort area, who had requested building permits from the Apsara National Authority, were guilty of building structures and carrying out renovations that were different from what was approved.

“They obtained permission [from the authority] to repair roofs, change [the] walls of [their] houses, and build bathrooms or kitchens, but do more than that. They build bigger than the size they had requested while some demolished old houses and built new ones instead.

“In principle, when we give permission [for demolition], we give them the option to build Khmer-style houses. We have architectural designs and technical blueprints that we could give them free of charge. Instead, they built terrace and brick houses that are different from the agreed design,” Kosal said.

He called on residents of the Angkor resort area who intend to request for house renovation and light construction permits to contact a community working group from their district or commune.

If, however, they intend to build new houses in place of old ones, Kosal said they should apply to the service centre of the Apsara National Authority or One Window Service Office either in their district or at the Siem Reap Provincial Hall. There is no charge for such applications.

“It is important to maintain the original state of the Angkor resort area. Such practice is important to promote the value of ancient Khmer houses and the identity of the resort area of a Khmer style of living. So if they do it wrong, the original form of the Khmer village-style will disappear,” he said.

Kosal reminded the owners of the structures to comply with the approved requests to avoid demolition of their properties.

“We have a working group that’s bent on preventing all forms of illegal constructions. The first issued permit allows them to renovate their properties in compliance with the approved design. If they don’t abide by the design, the property will eventually be demolished,” he said.

Suon Ramorn, a resident of Siem Reap’s Slakram commune, told The Post on Sunday that he has lived there for years and had always asked permission from the Apsara National Authority whenever he wanted to renovate his house.

Though Ramorn stressed that he understood the significance of the process, he believes that the procedure of asking for permits could be implemented better.

“I don’t understand why our citizens still do such illegal things. Doing so will only create other problems. But I ask the authority to issue permits quicker. In the past, permits always took a long time to be issued,” Ramorn said.

Illegal constructions are still ongoing in the Angkor resort area.

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