Friday, June 4, 2010

Address at the Official Inauguration Ceremony of Prek Kdam Bridge Crossing Tonle Sap

Address at the Official Inauguration Ceremony of Prek Kdam Bridge Crossing Tonle Sap and Ground Breaking Ceremony for Construction of National Road No.61 Funded by Saved Budget or Credit Balance of Loan from China and Counterpart Fund of the Royal Government of Cambodia

May 31st, 2010

- Your Venerable Monks,

- H.E PAN GUANG XUE, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Kingdom of Cambodia

- Excellencies Ambassadors, National and International Distinguished Guests,

- Beloved Compatriots, Teachers and Students!

Today, I have great honor and pleasure to take part in the official inauguration ceremony of the “Prek Kdam Cambodia-China Friendship Bridge and the Opening of Construction of National Road No.61”. For this auspicious occasion, I would like to share great pleasure with Grandpa, Grandma and people living in this area, who have received this great achievement to serve your interest and directly support your livelihood.

Moreover, I would like to warmly welcome H.E. Pan Guang Xue, Ambassador of the People’ s Republic of China for his first time of his diplomacy mandate to participate in the inauguration ceremony of Prek Kdam Bridge and opening site for construction of National Road No.61. This road is built from west head of Preak Kdam to National Road 6A at sixteen kilometers junction. It is 10 meters width and costs 9.76 million US dollars. This project is funded by loan for China and 5% counterpart fund of the Royal Government. This active gesture is contributed to meeting day-to-day growing demand and request of the people. It is clearly seen that the Royal Government has mobilized fund from all stakeholders in order to contribute to building various achievements for the sake of socio-economic development according to the spirit of “Rectangular Strategy” for growth, employment, equity and efficiency.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank Her Excellency Zhang Jinfeng former Chinese Ambassador and her colleagues for their support in the restoration and development of infrastructure such as Prek Kdam Bridge for our use. This bridge was actually crossed by the people before and during the Khmer New Year. H.E. Yim ChhayLy, Deputy Prime Minister and H.E. Tram Iv Tek, Minister of Public Works and Transport hold Buddhism opening ceremony on 10-12 April 2010 for people with happiness and safety during the Khmer New Year.

For this occasion, I would like to convey, through H.E. Pan Guang Xue, gratitude of the people and Government of Cambodia to Chinese people and Government of People’ s Republic of China that always lend us money without setting complicated conditions for road, bridge and infrastructure construction, in which the roads constructed by the loan from the PRC is around 1509.67 Km length, including National Road No.7, No.8, No.57, No.62, No.76, No.78 and three long bridges including Sekong, Prek Tamak and Prek Kdam. It all costs 900 millions US dollar. It is so pround that loan from China is available when we need. In the name of long-term and close friendship and key financier, it helps the Royal Government in all sectors such as road and bridge construction in order to integrate domestic economy and promote economic development and tourism for poverty reduction. This effort has contributed a lot to economic growth, job creation and elevating living standard of people that lead to a rapid poverty reduction. This great sympathy is valueless, unforgettable and recorded in history and deeply carved in heart of the people and Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

These growing achievements witnessed the efforts made by the Royal Government in building physical infrastructures, regarded by Cambodia as “Locomotive of Economic Growth“ and it is a vein connecting the Kingdom of Cambodia to become an element of economic activities for national, regional and international integration. With these purposes, the Royal Government of Cambodia has continued to build and develop transportation infrastructure such as road, railway, waterway, ships, international seaport and airway, including open sky policy for national, regional and international integration to facilitate and promote all sectors for national development, especially trade, investment, agriculture, tourism and transportation of goods across the borders.

Of course, in the past decades, to cross the national road No.5 at where we have built this bridge to other side of the river, our people had to travel by small engine boats and ferries. They had to wait and pay for crossing fees. On the other hand, if we had to transport goods from Thailand or other places from north-western region of Cambodia to Siem Reap, Kampong Cham or other north-eastern provinces of Cambodia, we did not have ferries or bridges, we had to go to Phnom Penh first and then crossed the river at Chruoy Changvar bridge to national road No.6 or No.7 or No.76, which was normally time-consuming and caused heavy traffic jams in Phnom Penh, rapid destruction of Chruoy Changvar bridge and national road No.6 due to heavy weights. Moreover, if we do not have road infrastructure in this Prek Kdam area, the Mekong area which is a fertilized area with vast population, only 30 Kms away from Phnom Penh- becomes isolated like other remote areas and faces many difficulties. So, the Royal Government has to build this Prek Kdam and reconstruction of national road No.61, connecting the west of the bridge to national road No.7 and No.6 at the intersection of national road No.6A, in which we are now inaugurating for road reconstruction. In fact, national road No.61 and Prek Kdam bridge will act as an effective mean in connecting transportation, interconnecting with national road No.8 by crossing Tameak bridge which will be completed in the near future and also connecting to Bavet International Border checkpoint via national road No.1, which is the potential economic corridor because this Prek Kdam bridge is the intersection of national road No.5 from Cambodian-Thailand border, national road No.6 from Angkor region which is the tourism site and from the national road No.7, connecting from Cambodian-Laos border and north-eastern region of Cambodia. At the same time, bridge and national road will contribute to raising people’s standard of living and facilitate the transportation of goods, services and business operations of our people. They can go faster with high economic effectiveness and bring other benefits to the entire nation. Specifically, bridge and national road will become the historic infrastructure for our people because bridge and road is a strategic point for integration that connects western and eastern regions. This connectivity is my strong wishes in which I usually mentioned “develop in the west, but never forget the east”. With the achievement of this bridge and road will lead to the balance of development between these two regions. This point is the core benefit from this bridge and road. At the same time, this bridge and road will play a key role in investment within this region as well as playing role as catalyst for sharing the progression and economic growth with equity within the society.

In summary, this work cannot happen by chance; it happens by commitment, preparation and firm decision from the Royal Government for the national integration, economic effectiveness, and equity of sharing growth and to reduce the traffic jams. In fact, in this region, land are fertilized, which could be used to plant and cultivate with high yield, as well as strengthening and increasing investment, trade greatly, which will lead to build strong foundation for the national economy and micro economy growth days after days, especially connecting national road No.5 and No.6 and facilitate the smoothness of traffic. At the present, with these achievements coming from our commitments, we can see the real benefits and it will grow double in the near future.

In this spirit, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I will continue to uphold my firm stand, commitment and strong support to all reconstruction and development of all sectors, especially I still consider the reconstruction, development, maintenance and repairing of transportation infrastructure as a prioritized policy which could help the Government to achieve its desirable goals to rapidly reduce poverty for our people. At the same time, I would like to recommend to all ministries, institutions, and all level of local authorities, especially the management and officials of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, to continue to strongly cooperate, maintain and repair all transportation networks to all regions across the country as well as neighboring countries with high quality. Together, the participation and understanding of our people is a key factor for construction and maintenance of all roads and bridges.

In this regard, I would like to appeal to all people who have been living in the area of national road No.61 and all levels of local authorities to provide good cooperation in order to facilitate smooth, timely and highly safe construction work as expected.

At the same time, on behalf of the Royal Government and People of Cambodia, I would like to thank the Governments and peoples of friend countries, development partners and all financing agencies who have always pad attention to donate and spiritually and materially support in all kinds to restore and develop Cambodia in all sectors. Once again, I would like to convey my deepest thank to the people and Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) who has unconditionally provided loan on time at the request of Cambodia who is now facing difficulties and it is necessary for us to promote economic growth and social development. Along with that, I would like to appreciate and encourage the close cooperation between the management and officials of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and SHANGHAI Construction (GROUP) General Company of the PRC who have tried to save at the maximum in order to keep a partial budget for building national road No.61 and I would like to appreciate and encourage the close cooperation between the management and civil servants, workers, employees of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and the local authorities as well as with related institutions who have made their utmost physical and mental effort to cooperate and implement to achieve the success of strategic plan set out by the Royal Government so far, especially on the construction of roads, bridges, railways, skyways, waterway and ports all over the country. I would like to highly appreciate and encourage the SHANGHAI Construction (GROUP) General Company and Guangzhou Wanan Construction Supervision as a technical advisor, who have made greatest efforts in building Prekdam before the set plan and according to my suggestion during the linkage of bridge tie on 14 September 2009 and I strongly hope that both companies will continue their work with further success in building the national road No.61 to conform to the international standard and will be completely done as expected or before.

In this connection, I would like to remind all people to take care of their traveling and advise their siblings, nieces and nephews not to be extremely happy while traveling over the bridge that has already been constructed and don’t drive over speed in order to prevent from any unexpected accidents causing human lives and property damage. Along with that, competent authorities must strictly implement like drizzling rain in combating against the transportation of over 25 tons. In this case, the Royal Government will continue to strengthen and adopt the law on road as well as other laws and legal documents for effectively managing the transport infrastructure. The Royal Government will also pay further attention to the traffic safety and will put out firm measures for any crimes transporting over the limited weight.

I will not forget about the gratitude made by officials, staff and workers of the Prekdam Ferry who have so far transported the people and have fulfilled the strategic and economic requirement of the Royal Government, especially when Chruoy Changvar bridge and national road No.6A was cut off during the war and have released the burden on Chruoy Changvar bridge as well as the congestion in Phnom Penh. In this sense, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage the Ministry of Public Works and Transport to timely build new ferry port at Chruoy Changvar -Svay Chrum in order to take staffs, workers and means of the Prekdam Ferry Port to be processed there after the contract of private ferry port comes to an end at the end of this year 2010.

At this end, along with the crowded gathering with joy during the official inauguration of “Achievement of Cambodia-China Friendship Bridge in Prekdam and the Opening of Construction of National Road No.61” today, I would like to wish the venerable monks, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, National and International Guests, Compatriots, Teachers and Students the four gems of Buddhist blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.

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