A private logging company has been told to cease operations within a social land concession in Preah Vihear province’s Choam Ksan district.
According to a letter received yesterday from Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon to the provincial governor, the Doung Srouch Group had been collecting forestry by-products on a swathe of 1,545 hectares.
However, Mr Sakhon did not give a reason for the cessation.
Ministry spokesman Lor Reaksmey said the company’s operations within the area had been halted following a request from provincial authorities.
“There was intervention from the provincial governor and the provincial agricultural department. There must be approval from them before any wood is collected,” he said.
“They informed the ministry and the ministry assigned officials to examine it.”
Keo Oum Malis, deputy director of the Agriculture Ministry’s forestry administration department, said cessation of a social land concession must occur when the wood runs out.
“Generally, the cessation occurs because there is no more wood. Want it or not, when there is no more wood, the operation has to be concluded,” he said.
The Doung Srouch Group has previously been accused of illegal logging in Ratanakkiri, Kampong Thom and Preah Vihear provinces.
Provincial agricultural department director Ping Trida declined to comment and hung up on a reporter.
Company representatives could not be reached for comment.
Provincial governor Un Chanda said he asked the ministry to halt the company from operating because there was simply no more wood.
“There is no more wood left for the company to collect, so we told the ministry to stop its operations. If we let it continue, we fear that evil employees of that company will log outside the concession land,” he said.