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Floating-house owners, river fish farmers told to relocate

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Fish farms on the Tonle Sap River are seen in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district on April 19. Heng Chivoan

Floating-house owners, river fish farmers told to relocate

Owners of floating houses and other unofficial structures on the rivers bordering the capital were ordered by the Phnom Penh Municipal Administration to remove or relocate the structures from June 2.

Some opportunists have been covertly fish farming, building floating houses, piers and other structures, municipal governor Khuong Sreng stated in an announcement, adding that illegal structures have caused disorder, affected water ways and ecosystems.

The release of waste water and using the rivers as a toilet damaged biodiversity, reduced water quality, polluted the environment and affected Phnom Penh’s beauty, the municipal administration added.

Sreng said: “Owners are to dismantle and remove structures on the river within one week of this notice.

The governor stressed that after this grace period ends, the municipal administration will take administrative action and accept no responsibility for damage or loss. If there is resistance, authorities will refer the case to court.

Meanwhile, the Chbar Ampov district administration, a district with floating houses and other illegal structures on the river, acted in accordance with the municipality and issued a notice to owners of the structures.

District governor Cheng Monira briefly told The Post that he was holding a meeting to discuss the case.

The municipal administration also asked the people to stop raising fish along the river in Phnom Penh and farm fish in ponds instead.

Tin Saleh, a former representative of the fish farming in floating cages business community in Chraing Chamreh I and II, told The Post that after receiving the notice, he immediately told people to remove structures.

“I informed my community as the law has already been put in place. We have to remove our floating cages. Although we have been raising fish along the river for a long time, now it’s time for the government to remove everything, so we don’t protest. ”

Am Sam Ath, the deputy director of monitoring at Licadho, said that the Phnom Penh municipal administration’s decision was good.

“The city must be beautiful, both environmentally and hygienically, as the water people use must be clean,” he said.

He added that at the same time, municipal hall should find a solution through peaceful negotiations with stakeholders.

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