Sa’ang and Kien Svay district authorities in Kandal province stopped a military official from clearing an area of wetland, creating a canal that was siphoning water from a larger canal that served farmers in the area and filling in other canals, seizing a bulldozer in the process, authorities said on Tuesday.
Nhem Vandin, Sa’ang district governor, told The Post that on Saturday villagers reported that Sok Rithy, a military official, was attempting to fill up small canals sourced by the Brasat Bram Canal and digging a small canal of his own without a permit from authorities.
After receiving the report, Sa’ang authorities teamed with those from Kien Svay to temporarily halt the clearing of land until experts can determine the impact on farmers in the area.
Ou Chheang, Kien Svay district governor, said the 100-hectare wetland is a dry-season rice field that Rithy had bought from villagers years ago.
Rithy had been building a small dam to be filled with water from a canal he was digging that would be sourced by the Brasat Bram Canal, located between the two districts and which local farmers rely on to cultivate their fields.
“At this time, authorities had him sign a contract to stop clearing the land without permission and they ordered him to dredge the old canals that he had been filling in order to open up the water way,” Chheang said, adding that authorities had seized one bulldozer.