Khsach Kandal district authorities in Kandal province demanded answers from several companies on Monday after they were accused of filling in parts of Svay Chrum commune’s Krabao Trabot canal without permission.
District governor Bun Pheng told The Post on Monday that the district administration recently discovered that companies which own land close to the canal had started to fill it with soil to build a road connecting their locations.
The move drew criticism from the public, who called on local authorities to perform their duty and prevent the seizure of state land.
After witnessing the violation, the Svay Chrum administration urged village and commune authorities to order the companies to stop their actions.
Pheng said representatives from the companies and all related parties were called to a meeting to solve the issue.
“I put a stop to the canal removal last Friday and on Monday at noon, Svay Chrum commune authorities called the related parties to meet and tackle the problem at the district hall. I haven’t received a report from the commune about the results yet,” he said.
Commune chief Son Sambor told The Post that 40 per cent of the canal was removed without permission.
He said authorities will make the owners of the companies and related parties find a way to restore the canal.
Then, they will have to install a pipe system under the road that connects their land to prevent the loss of the canal.
“The canal is very important for citizens now and in the future. We must prevent its removal,” he said.
Sambor did not identify which companies had filled in the canal.
Huor Nan Travel Company representative Te Huor Kimsreng acknowledged that his company owns land along the western side of the canal but he said the company has no plans to fill in the canal for future development.
He said his company had not filled in the canal in the past and it does not support the action.
“The canal is an important system that prevents floods during the rainy season in Svay Chrum. Our company supports authorities in protecting this canal,” Kimsreng said.
Seng Sorya, a Svay Chrum commune citizen, told The Post on Monday that since the location is being developed into flats and condos, some ponds and canals have been removed.
“I am happy with development nowadays but I am not happy with some of the actions by some companies who illegally fill soil into the public’s canals, for instance in Svay Chrum,” he said.
On May 8, Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology Lim Kean Hor expressed concern about the ability of typically rainy areas to avoid floods because of the removal of rivers, lakes, ponds and canals.
Kean Hor said construction companies blocking waterways without asking permission played a role in his assessment.
He called for all 25 municipal and provincial governors to help prevent these types of offences.