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Infrastructure work underway for displaced Angkor park residents

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Machinery clearing land in Run Ta Ek commune in preparation for the resettlement there of people living in unauthorized areas of Angkor Park. CHEA SOPHARA

Infrastructure work underway for displaced Angkor park residents

A working group from the Ministry of Environment and the APSARA National Authority (ANA) has prepared 95ha of land in the new Run Ta Ek village for development, as nearly 1,000 families prepare to relocate from the Angkor Archaeological Park.

The ongoing construction of gravel roads in the village is also underway, according to Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Chea Sophara.

“As of August 28, the number of land plots prepared for those who have volunteered to dismantle their illegal constructions in the Angkor park and relocate to the village totalled 95ha,” he said.

Sophara added that 2,850m of red gravel roads had been completed by the engineering corps of Siem Reap. This meant almost 20 per cent of the new transport infrastructure was in place.

He thanked philanthropists for donating 6,000 luxury saplings to the ANA.

Hai Yong, a representative of the Orientation Task working group, said the measuring of plots within the park is ongoing and that any structures deemed illegal would be ordered demolished.

He said the owners of illegal structures in the park who meet specific conditions can voluntarily dismantle them and participate in draws for new lots of land in Run Ta Ek, noting that land which people had relied on for their livings would not be confiscated.

“Those who have buildings here have the right to enter the lucky draw and move to Run Ta Ek. If people are growing crops here, they may continue to do so, but they cannot build any permanent structures,” he said.

At the launch of the campaign, Sophara said there were over 8,000 illegal structures in the Angkor Park, a 401sq km site that has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1992.

“Cambodia has a duty to protect the Angkor park, which is part of our ancestral heritage and the identity and soul of our nation. It is also of universal value as a World Heritage Site for all mankind,” he said.

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