Senator’s New Pond Imperils Irrigation Canal

A CPP senator and close aide to Senate President Chea Sim has constructed a fish pond that threatens an irrigation canal built in 2004 to help hundreds of poor farmers in Kandal province’s Ponhea Leu district, officials said Friday.

Senator Chea Son’s pond, under construction this month, has extended into a 15-meter buffer zone around the canal that was engineered to maintain the canal’s structural integrity, Kandal Water Resource Ministry Director Chun Peng Long said.

The digging has occurred along 300 meters adjacent to the main canal, which was constructed in 2004, he said.

On Dec 11, Chun Peng Long said he compromised with Chea Son allowing him to dig his pond to within 8 meters of the canal, but Water Resource Minister Lim Kean Hor overruled the compromise on engineering grounds.

Chea Son’s mobile telephone did not accept calls on Friday.

According to a copy of a letter dated Wednesday, Lim Kean Hor wrote to Kandal Governor Khim Bo, imploring him to stop Chea Son from digging into the state land.

“In order to maintain public interest and to contribute to the reduction of poverty, I ask the provincial governor to immediately stop such type of digging so we can avoid future consequences,” the minister wrote.

Khim Bo said that he will need more time to work with the Min­istry of Water Re­source before provincial authorities can take action.

Tep Sothy, the governor of Ponhea Leu district, said he was not aware of the issue.

Chun Peng Long said any resolution of the problem depends on the decision of high officials because of the senator’s stature.

 

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