The Kdey Takoy pagoda committee yesterday announced that it will no longer allow the placement of new stupas along the Mekong river following the collapse of a riverbank last week that damaged a number of stupas.
The authorities repaired the collapsed portion and told the pagoda committee to remove all ashes contained within remaining stupas that did not collapse into the river, it said.
Sour Chon, a pagoda committee member, yesterday said the decision was made after the committee was warned by expert officials.
Mr Chon noted that new stupas will only be allowed to be placed five metres away from the riverbank.
“The pagoda is not allowed to place stupas along the river, even after people suggested that we should,” Mr Chon said. “We don’t know what can happen in the future. So for safety, the pagoda will not allow the placement of new stupas along the river.”
Two stupas collapsed into the river and three more were damaged when the riverbank collapsed on Saturday, leading to families rushing to the pagoda to remove their loved one’s ashes over fear that they would be lost to the river.
Family members often place their deceased loved one’s ashes within stupas along the river because it is believed that the river brings happiness to the deceased.
Yang Rithy, a 27-year-old who has his relative’s ashes at the pagoda, said yesterday that he will no longer place his family stupa along the riverbank.
“We were lucky that we were able to remove our family ashes from the stupa before the collapse,” Mr Rithy said. “We will not keep it there again because we are afraid that the collapse could happen again.”
Veal Sbov commune chief Yon Sophal said yesterday that authorities recovered the two collapsed stupas from the river.
“The damaged stupas were repaired by the owners,” Mr Sbov said. “The authorities repaired the damage on the riverbank.”
The Ministry of Mines and Energy on Monday denied that sand dredging is to blame for the collapse, noting that it occurred due to heavy rain and the erosion of freshly expanded land.