Rains Hinder Construction of Road to Preah Vihear Temple

Heavy rains are stalling construction of a new road intended to help develop Preah Vihear tem­ple along the Thai border, Preah Vihear province Governor Preap Tan said Monday.

“The construction is moving very slowly because there’s been too much raining,” he said.

Heavy rains have most seriously affected deminers, who have been bogged down by the storms and had to deal with land mines that shift as the ground loosens.

The road is within 8 km of the Preah Vihear temple, Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara said, going through a former battle ground between Khmer Rouge guerrillas and forces loyal to the government.

“The place is really mined and a dangerous place for construction,” Preah Vihear province Police Chief Chea San said.

Because of this the government isn’t likely to meet its September deadline for finishing the road, Preap Tan said.

“Most of the time there is no construction being done. I don’t think the road construction will be finished as scheduled. We have very little chance of finishing it,” the governor said.

But some are hopeful a temporary road can be finished at least.

“I hope in two more months, construction will reach the edge of Preah Vihear village. It won’t be finished, but we might use it temporarily. We can use it to reach the temples,” Chea So­phara said.

Chea Sophara is leading the government’s effort to build up roads in Preah Vihear province. The famed Angkorian temples are seen as a tourism gold mine, but the Thais have blocked off the temples’ only serviceable entrance, which lies on their side of the border. This has effectively shut off the temples to outsiders.

Even as talks over the issue continue, Cambodian authorities have tried to go their own way, building a direct road from the south which would give the nation more leverage in temple negotiations and better access to the temple itself.



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