At least 200 disgruntled residents from three villages in Siem Reap’s Prasat Bakorng district blocked a 3-km stretch of unsurfaced road on Friday demanding that a private tour operator, which uses the route to ferry tourists to Kompong Pluk floating village, paves the thoroughfare to stop the clouds of dust its buses drag up around their homes, a village representative said.
Ouk Sam Ath said that villagers on Friday morning erected a wooden barricade in Meanchey commune to prevent tour buses operated by Sea Pac Investment Co. Ltd. from reaching the popular tourist site on the Tonle Sap, as the company had failed to develop the road as promised and the blanket of dust had become unbearable.
“The company needs to pave this road because it had been collecting money from visitors and has been promising to develop this area for a long time,” said Mr. Sam Ath.
Sea Pac Investment, which operates the tour company KPecotourist, started using the route several years ago and had invested in widening the road but it was never laid with asphalt and since then the company has been using water-spraying trucks to suppress the dust.
Villagers removed the barricades Sunday afternoon after a tentative agreement was reached with representatives of the company, who promised to recommence watering the road and asked the residents to give the management one month to find a more permanent solution.
“They are demanding that the tourist company using the road paves it because it is dusty,” district Governor Pu Sam Ath said.
“But representatives came out to discuss the problem with villagers and asked them to wait. They said they did not know when they will build the road for them, but they promised to water on it,” he added.
Run Theara, a representative of Sea Pac Investment, said the watering trucks have broken down.