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Pagoda ‘on the brink of sinking’

Pagoda ‘on the brink of sinking’

More than 160 families  in Kampong Cham province are protesting against a sand-dredging company, alleging its operations are causing their village pagoda to collapse into the widening river.

More than 160 families  in Kampong Cham province are protesting against a sand-dredging company, alleging its operations are causing their village pagoda to collapse into the widening river.

The Peam Chikang village families, in Kang Meas district’s Peam Chikang commune, say the riverbank has nearly reached the fence around the pagoda.

The company has dismissed  the objections of the families, saying there is far greater support for the project than opposition.

Liv Ros, the protesters’ representative, said that before dredging began, the land between the pagoda fence and the river measured about 30 metres. Since last year, it has shrunk to 10 to 15 metres.

Chouk Sokchea, owner of the company, dismissed all accusations, saying there were many who supported her business.

“If [you] do not believe me, come and ask the people,” she said. “There is no collapse of the river bank.”

Sokchea said her business had re-opened – after being closed for six months  – at the behest of villagers who had difficulty transporting sand for construction. She claims 181 families support her business.

Deputy district governor Moeun Pha said the project was divisive and a compromise was being sought.

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