RESIDENTS of five villages in Takeo province said yesterday that they planned to file complaints in a bid to bar a local company from mining sand from the banks of the Porpel River, and accused the company of cutting off access to sand quarries.
Srey Touch, a representative of Trapaing Kok village, located in Tram Kok district, said residents had demonstrated against the Prak Borin Company, a local sand company, and were planning to lodge a complaint with the local authorities on an unspecified date.
He said the company had claimed to have an exclusive licence to dig sand from the banks of the river, but noted that villagers had long benefited from small-scale trade from the quarry.
“We are all writing a letter and thumbprinting it so the authorities can solve this problem.... None of us have enough money to get a license, and we can earn a small profit from [the sand] business,” he said.
Hor Neath, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said the company seemed to have temporarily halted its operations, but that the conflict with villagers still remained unresolved.
Prak Borin, president of the Prak Borin Company, said the villagers engaging in small-scale trade were merchants executing “anarchic” business deals without paying tax.
“My company has a licence, so I can buy sand from the people, and the merchants can’t, but they have to buy the sand from my company, so they complain,” he said.
But Prak Borin vowed to suspend his operations to allow time for mediation.