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Run Ta Ek residents say life is better there than in Angkor Archaeological Park

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Families living in the Angkor Archeological Park have participated in a draw for new homes in Runta Ek village, in Banteay Srei district’s Runta Ek commune. CHEA SOPHARA VIA FACEBOOK

Run Ta Ek residents say life is better there than in Angkor Archaeological Park

Residents who were willing to leave their homes in Angkor Archaeological Park and relocate to Run Ta Ek eco-village five years ago are saying their lives have improved in the interim, and now Prime Minister Hun Sen has recently announced that Run Ta Ek area would be converted into a rural Run Ta Ek town.

A former resident of the park, Rin Sruoch of Srah Srong village in Siem Reap town’s Nokor Thom commune, who moved to Run Ta Ek eco-village years ago, said that when he had lived in the Angkor Archeological Park he had a small plot of land that was not legally owned and he could not make full use of the land he had, so his family was willing to exchange land with the Apsara National Authority (ANA) and leave the park to live in the eco-village.

He added that he has now built a guest house for tourists – and is charging them by the day and by the month – giving him a decent monthly income between the guesthouse and his farming yields.

Rin Sruoch said he was happy with life in the eco-village, which allowed him greater freedom to do what he wanted in his daily life, according to an ANA Facebook post on September 15.

Another resident, Ke Kinorey also said that she was willing to relocate to Run Ta Ek eco-village five years ago. Since she moved in, she has been cultivating the land and growing coconuts, papayas, pineapples and lemons while raising cattle, chickens, ducks and geese. She now has 13 cows and more than 100 birds.

She added that every day she is able to earn at least 30,000 riel from selling lemons, duck eggs and chicken eggs. In particular, during the goose egg season, she is able to earn a considerable amount of daily income by selling the goose eggs, which has made her better-off than when she lived in the park.

She said that some families have members that now work for the ANA, some had built guesthouses for the tourism industry and others are cultivating their land, but most are able to earn a good income each month.

Prime Minister Hun Sen announced on September 13 the conversion of the rural area of Run Ta Ek into a new town with at least 6,000 families set for arrival soon. He also pledged to provide poor families with IDPoor cards and assist pregnant women in the area, starting from October, with the extra benefits running for at least the next decade.

“This area consists of more than a thousand families already and we’ll convert it into a town. The number of families will rise to 6,000 soon here and in the nearby area, which will become the new area for this town to expand into,” he added.

Hun Sen made the announcement as he met with people who were willing to move their houses from the Angkor Park area and other protected areas under the ANA. He also said that the infrastructure in the area will provide clean water and electricity and the authorities would build a market, health centre and schools.

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