The Kandal provincial governor’s office issued a letter on Tuesday responding to a complaint filed by residents in February against the construction of an antenna for the Cambodia National Rescue Party’s (CNRP) proposed Sun TV channel.
The letter passed responsibility for dealing with the complaint to the ministries of land management, information and telecommunications, adding that no construction should take place until “a compromise is reached and local residents have given their approval”.
The complaint was signed and thumbprinted by 21 individuals living near the proposed antenna site in Kandal’s Takhmao town, citing fears of radiation poisoning.
“We called on the authorities to prevent the construction because this antenna will affect our health,” said complainant Seav Bou, 47. “We will wait and see what the majority of people want, whether they continue to complain or not – I will take the majority voice.”
The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency website reports that research from health authorities around the world, including the World Health Organization, suggests “there are no established health effects” from exposure to radio frequencies and electromagnetic energy emitted by broadcast towers.
CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann also noted yesterday that there was no majority objection from nearby residents.
“I don’t know what the authorities, especially the governor of Takhmao town, is thinking, because if they think what a few people think is right, why can others build [antennae] in other cities?” Sovann said.
But Takhmao Town Governor Heng Theam disagreed.
“Now there is a complaint from the people, so we have to wait until there is a compromise. If they want to continue with construction, they have to go talk with the people living there and get their approval.”
But Sovann questioned why it had taken until February for residents to voice their concerns, and wondered aloud whether there was something else motivating villagers.
“When we bought the land, nobody talked about that, and when the land title was transferred to the company and the company submitted a proposal to build a tower,” he said. “And then they reject our proposal based on people’s complaints?”
“I don’t know what’s behind them, but I doubt the complaint,” Sovann added.
He said that while there had not been any official obstruction of Sun TV’s development so far, he added that the government “would like to play the game, you know?”