The Apsara Authority approved more than 500 construction and repair applications inside the Angkor Archaeological Park in the first half of this year, up nearly 100 on the same period last year.
The figure was contained in a report from the authority secretariat’s working group released on Thursday.
It says the working group allowed residents in the Angkor area to build, repair, do minor construction or build new houses in place of old ones in more than 500 cases within Siem Reap city, Pouk district, Angkor Thom district, Banteay Srey district and Prasat Bakorng district.
Authority spokesman Long Kosal said the increase in approvals showed that more attention was being paid to the residents in the park to fulfil their demands.
“In the first semester of 2017, we approved 475 cases and in the first semester of 2018, 568 cases,” he said. “The number of approved cases has risen because of an increase in our activities to help facilitate the construction as requested by more people.”
“This work is a daily task of the Apsara Authority and on a daily basis the community working group patrols the park,” he added. “The approval varies from the construction of a house wall, the building of house awnings, repairs of roofs and stairs and changes of columns, constructions of cow, pig and chicken shelters, as well as toilets.”
Mr Kosal said that in exceptional cases, residents can build a new house in place of the old house as long as they have the right documents.
“They need to file the application along with a document clearly stating that they are residents in the park and other necessary ownership documents as required by the Apsara Authority,” he said.
He added that some applications were rejected because they did not follow the regulations. Controls had been strict to ensure that no illegal construction was taking place in the park.
Hout Hai, chief of Puok district’s Kauk Trach village, said residents filed applications to him first before construction.
“People who want to do repairs have to contact the village chief and then I will include all the people in the list and submit it the commune chief and the commune chief will forward it to the working group,” he said. “The process is completely free and the authorities in charge will help according to the requests.”
“I can see that the people are happier because they can do the repairs openly without hiding,” he added.