In four months this year, the Apsara Authority has allowed people living in the Angkor area to build and repair 354 houses or do light construction in order to help facilitate their living conditions.
According to a report of the secretariat’s working group of five communities of the Apsara Authority, which was released yesterday, the working group decided to allow residents in the Angkor area to build, repair or do minor construction in 354 cases, including 72 cases in Prasat Bakong district, 71 cases in Angkor Thom district, 59 cases in Puok district, 45 cases in Banteay Srey district and 107 cases in Siem Reap city.
“The authorisation came after the community working team went to inspect the houses and related documents. They had asked the working team to confirm that they were elderly people who had lived in the Angkor area for a long time,” the report said.
Long Kosal, spokesman for the Apsara Authority, said that examples of light construction included extra pieces of roof, bathrooms, toilets, chicken cages, cattle stables, wooden stalls and minor home repairs.
He added that permission was strictly monitored and any construction or repairs would not affect the conservation of temples in the Angkor area.
“Light construction refers to the type of construction that does not require heavy concrete or tile,” he said. “We are trying to help facilitate the people’s living conditions as much as possible.”
Mr Kosal said the Apsara Authority has also prepared measures to prevent new settlers in the Angkor area, adding there was no new resettlement during the first four months of 2018.
Suy Yoeurng, a resident of Kravan village in Siem Reap city’s Nokor Thom commune who just repaired his house, said it was not difficult for villagers who had lived in the Angkor area for many years to obtain permission to make small additions or renovate their home.
However, he said that newcomers who built illegally would be ordered by authorities to remove their homes.
“If we want to build a house, we should ask for legal permission to avoid illegal construction because if they [Apsara Authority] come to remove it, the benefits would be lost,” he said.
In June 2017, the Apsara Authority discovered 521 illegal buildings in the Angkor site. The joint commission at the time took action to remove some illegal buildings while some buildings were removed by the owners themselves.
According to the Apsara Authority, there are hundreds of families living in the Angkor area, covering 401 square kilometres in four districts and Siem Reap city.