Environmental watchdog ACNCIPO head Chea Hean on Tuesday requested the Kampong Speu provincial Department of Environment to mark the boundary of the Phnom Aural Wildlife Sanctuary in Trapaing Chor and Tasal communes in Oral district to prevent land grabs.
He said he made the requested after observing that hundreds of hectares of land there had been encroached on.
Hean sent a letter to department director Em Sokhun on Monday to assign environment officials to collaborate with sanctuary director Hul Mara and his organisation to mark the boundary.
This, he said will stop forest land clearing in Sre Kin and Po Meas villages in Trapaing Chor commune, and in Doung village in Tasal commune. He also wants grabbed land to be returned as state property.
The letter said brokers had prompted residents to grab forest land in the Phnom Aural Wildlife Sanctuary, by clearing the forest and illegally occupying the state land.
The letter read that having inspected the area, ACNCIPO notes that the Phnom Aural Wildlife Sanctuary is protected by a royal decree.
Hean told The Post on Tuesday that 63ha of forest land in the communes was put up for sale and hundreds of hectares are being cleared and encroached on.
The land belongs to the Phnom Aural Wildlife Sanctuary but opportunistic traders and residents had come to illegally clear the land for private ownership.
“I will collaborate with experts of the Kampong Speu provincial Department of Environment and Mara to mark the boundary if irregularities are discovered.
“I urge the revocation of land as state property. The location where they cleared already, I will build a case file to be referred to the courts,” Hean said.
He said the provincial department director should inspect the area and decide to assign experts to collaborate with the Phnom Aural Wildlife Sanctuary head and the organisation to stop forest land from being cleared.
Mara said on Tuesday that he had already received the request from Hean because Sokhun allowed him to collaborate with the organisation and Oral district officials to stop the activity and measure the land in the area.
“The department director agreed to allow me some experts to go down this weekend to stop this forest land being cleared.
“I don’t know yet about the exact size of the land that was seized. It is to be measured first and then [we] will know for sure,” he said.