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Water utility, residents clash over Poipet road

Water utility, residents clash over Poipet road

In the midst of a widespread drought, nearly 50 residents in Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet town protested against the Anco utilities company over its digging up of a portion of road leading to the Kai Don Reservoir.

Residents claim the road is a historical landmark, since it was built during the Khmer Rouge era by the townspeople. The company, however, says it needs to expand the reservoir in order to provide more water to Poipet and its surrounding areas.

The scuffle came as Anco struggles to supply the town with adequate fresh water supplies. Excessive heat and a dearth of rainfall have led to drought-like conditions in the town, forcing authorities to import water from surrounding areas.

“The street is the best memorial for the people from the Pol Pot regime,” Poipet resident Chan Van said yesterday. “The people were forced to build it. We see the street as history.”

Poipet Governor Ngor Meng Chroun came to the company’s defence, saying that Anco only dug up a portion of the road and didn’t compromise its historical integrity.

“Don’t be confused,” he said.
“[They] dug the other way to expand the reservoir in order to [access] more water supplies while some areas are dry.”

Anco could not be reached for comment. Anco, owned by tycoon Kok An, has in the past failed to meet water demands for Poipet’s population.

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