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Apsara Authority to begin canal construction

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Governor Samnang points to an illegally-felled tree. Facebook

The Apsara Authority has announced that it will begin construction of canals surrounding forest areas in Angkor Archeological Park in Siem Reap province this week in a bid to preserve the historical site.

Chum Sopheakmakara, acting director-general of the Apsara Authority, in a statement issued on Tuesday said that the canal will act as a fence around the park and stave off people from encroaching on the surrounding area.

He added that the Angkor temples are surrounded by lush forest grounds home to wild animals, noting that the land must be protected.

“In order to allow the Apsara Authority to better manage forest data more accurately and sustainably, and also to protect the forest in the long-term, the Department of Forestry, Cultural Landscapes and Environment of the Apsara Authority will dig canals along the forest boundaries as well as plant more trees in order to increase forest cover,” Mr Sopheakmakara said in the statement.

Governor Vey Samnang leads an anti-logging raid in Kampong Speu. Facebook

The statement said that the authority will create 18 canal routes spanning approximately 27.7 kilometres, which will cut across 10 villages in Kok Chak, Sla Kram and Nokor Thom communes in Siem Reap city, and two villages in Banteay Srei district.

Chura Dina, deputy director of the authority’s Department of Forestry, Cultural Landscapes and Environment, yesterday said that the digging will begin today in Nokor Thom commune.

He added that the authority’s working group and local authorities have already chosen the locations of the canals, noting that the work will not affect the local residents.

“Digging the canal is a measure to prevent encroachment on the surrounding forest and not as a way to claim ownership, demarcate or authorise any illegal land occupation of the land near the protected forest area,” he said.

Mr Dina added that the authority will continue to further extend the canals next year, when it will add an additional 19 kilometres.

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