Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Oknha told to stop road construction on Kampot mangroves



Oknha told to stop road construction on Kampot mangroves

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Kampot provincial governor Cheav Tay instructed to halt the filling of a mangrove forest in Kampot province’s Teuk Chhou district. Supplied

Oknha told to stop road construction on Kampot mangroves

A prominent local businessman was ordered on Monday to cease construction work for a road in a mangrove forest in Kampot province after authorities learned it was being carried out in a protected area.

Kampot provincial governor Cheav Tay instructed Oknha Kuy Leang Ky this week to halt the filling of a mangrove forest in Kampot province’s Teuk Chhou district. The governor said the work impacted fish populations as well as the livelihood of communities that depend on them.

The work is being carried out in Prek Tnort commune by Leang Ky’s company, Oknha Kuy Leang Ky Construction Trading Group Co Ltd.

The governor also accused the company of carrying out the work without explicit permission from the authorities.

The order to cease operations came after the authorities carried out an inspection of the site and assessed the impact of the project on the local community.

“This company failed to inform or seek permission from the specialist police or the provincial authorities,” Tay said.

“The filling of this land is negatively affecting crab, lobster and fish populations. To protect the interests of the nation and people, particularly the fishing community in the area, we must ban this type of work and ask the company to remove the soil immediately,” he said.

Leang Ky could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Contradicting the governor’s version of the events, Kampot provincial Fisheries Administration chief Sar Sorin told The Post on Tuesday that the company did ask the Prek Tnort commune authorities and the fishing community for permission to build the road, and that they had initially supported the project.

The company told authorities and villagers that the road, set to be 6m wide and 200m long, would improve access to the area and that it was being built in the public’s interest, Sorin said.

He stressed that the authorities believed the project wouldn’t impact the forest or the communities that depended on it.

However, when construction work began, the negative impact of the project became clear as the company started filling the land.

Sorin said the company covered more than 3,000 mangrove trees with soil as well as three boundary markers demarcating the protected area in Prek Tnort and Koh Touch communes.

“During a site inspection on Sunday, the national-level committee found that the company had filled an area measuring 10m by 80m with soil,” Sorin said.

Ouk Sovannarith, the head of the fishing community in Prek Tnort village, said the work was destroying marine biodiversity and endangering the livelihood of the fishing community.

Sorin said the land had been transferred to Sovannarith’s fishing community to be protected and managed while relying on it for subsistence.

“The company intends to build a road for the general good, but because the mangrove forests are inside a protected area, the national-level committee has ordered it to remove the soil, reinstall the markers, and replant the mangrove trees,” Sorin said.

He said that, as of yesterday, the company had yet to remove the soil.

On Saturday, the committee found that a Chinese company has also been filling mangrove forests with soil, covering an area measuring 15m by 40m.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Preah Sihanouk hit with travel ban

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration has announced a temporary travel ban to and from the province, except for ambulances and trucks transporting goods. The announcement came after prime minister Hun Sen called on people in the province to travel only if necessary, and that people not

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • AstraZeneca jabs touch down in Phnom Penh airport

    The first shipment of 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine which was provided through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was delivered to Phnom Penh International Airport on March 2. The rest of the COVAX provided vaccines will arrive in Cambodia at a later date.

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said