Monday, February 28, 2011

Address at the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Construction of the Neak Loeung Bridge, a Grant Aid Provided by the Government of Japan

Kandal Province, February 12, 2011

Your Venerable Monks,
Your Excellency BANO TUTAKA, Secretary of State of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Your Excellency Masafumi KUROKI, Japan’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen National and International Distinguished Guests,
Dear all Compatriots!

It is my pleasure today to be in the Opening of the Construction Site of Neak Loeung Bridge, which is financed by the grant from the Government of Japan. The construction of this bridge is the 4th phase of the National Road No.1 development project which has been totally financed by the grant from the Government of Japan. I recall I inaugurated two bridges at the Kilometre No.48 of the National Road No.1 on December 6, 2005. That was the first phase of the 56-km National Road No.1 development project from Phnom Penh to Neak Loeung. Later on, the second phase was the construction of 42.880-km section from Korki - Kien Svay to the western Neak Loeung Ferry dock.

The third phase was the 9.10-km construction that started from Kilometer No.4 +000 in Veal Sbov Commune to Koki – Kien Svay of which 70% has been completed and the section was inaugurated on January 5, 2010. The construction of the fifth section which starts from Preah Monivong Bridge to the Kilometre No.4 +000 will commence soon. I strongly hope the Government of Japan will approve the grant for the construction of the fifth section along with the financing approval for the implementation of clean water projects of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority.

Taking the opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government and people of Cambodia, I would like to express my profound thank and high appreciation to the generous and dignified attitude of Japanese Government and people, who have constantly provided moral, technical and financial supports in the framework of cooperation financing with enormous grants since 1994 for restoration and development of physical infrastructure and human resources of Cambodia, particularly the restoration of roads and bridges such as Japan-Cambodia friendship bridge at Chruoy Changva, a link of National Road No.6 from Roluos to Siem Reap, National Road No.6A from Chruoy Changva bridge to Thnorl Kaeng connected to the National Road No.7 from Thnorl Kaeng to Chup-Memot, National Road No.2 form Takeo to Phnom Den at Cambodia-Vietnam border...etc, including a number of key bridges, especially 1,360-meter Kizona bridge crossing over the Mekong River at Tonlebet in Kompong Cham Province, and this time is 2,215-meter Neak Loeung bridge crossing over the Mekong River at Neak Loeung, which is the longest bridge in Cambodia. In general, the grant that the Japanese Government has provided for the construction of above-mentioned roads and bridges accounts for USD277 millions, of which USD56 millions for development of the National Road No.1 and USD92 millions (about 8,425,418 Japanese Yen) for Neak Loeung bridge, which are the grants from Japanese Government, with the counterpart fund of USD2.9 millions from the Royal Government of Cambodia for resettlement purpose and excluding waived import duty on imported materials, which is to be covered by the government. These supports are very important contributions from Japan to the Royal Government in boosting economic growth and social development, while Cambodia had just emerged from the war and is in bad need for national rehabilitation and development.

At the same time, I would like to highly appreciate the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, relevant ministries/institutions, local authorities, compatriot, Japanese companies and experts, who have exerted their efforts in conducting feasibility study and other tasks since 2003, which leads to the opening ceremony of construction site today. The bridge will become another achievement, which is the longest and most elegant in Cambodia, which we have never had in our history.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear all Compatriots!

As H.E Tram Iv Tek,Minister of Public Works and Transport, has reported already that the construction project of the Neak Loeung bridge is an opening of new page for Cambodia history because this is the first modern and huge architectural bridge construction that is ensured for technicality, efficiency and beauty.

Similar to the construction of the National Road No.1, the Japanese technicians have made thoroughly evaluation so that these road and bridge would become strategic road and bridge with three advantages, which are (1) facilitate land and water transportation services in compliance with international standard that can maintain the original water current and play a role as water irrigation system (2) facilitate the water current for the peoples’ cultivation, and ensure that water do not flood and damage roads and bridges and (3) maintain good condition of environment and society. In general, I think the construction of the bridge and the renovation of the National Road No.1 from Phnom Penh to Neak Loeung is to enhance the effectiveness of our blood vessels that have nourished and supported the economy and society of Cambodia; it also provides Cambodia with better capacity to take care of the busy transportation traffics throughout the region, which also can create budget revenue, employments and opportunities for the Cambodian people so that they can increase income to promote their families’ living standard, and improve their education and welfares.

In addition, this bridge and portion of the National Road No.1 financed by the Japanese aid would contribute significantly to solving the traffic congestions from Phnom Penh to Cambodia-Vietnam border at Bavet, caused by the huge increase of all kinds of cars and hustle and bustle of commerce activity crossing as well as the establishment of many factory enterprises along the road as well as along the Mekong river. I think the construction of Neak Loeung bridge project and the development of a portion of the National Road No.1 from Phnom Penh to Neak Loeung is a timely response to the implementation of a bilateral transportation agreement between Vietnam and Cambodia that have significantly contributed to promoting the economic growth and development of our countries through the internal integration, and regional and global integration, which aim to grab the opportunity to increase revenue from the competition, trade, tourism, industry, agriculture , and make it easy to promote other important sectors such as education, health, security, and the development tasks of areas along the Cambodia- Vietnam border to be areas with improvement in all sectors, strong international cooperation and complete peace with sustainability.

I believe that in the future Neak Loeung bridge and the National Road No.1 from Phnom Penh to Neak Loeung will become an effective mean contributing extensively to the economic and social development of Cambodia; because Neak Loeung bridge plays an important role for fulfilling the international standard condition and add more potential to the Sub-Mekong Region (GMS) highway and ASEAN 1 highway, serving the transportation crossing the region and eliminating the time and cost on using ferry of Cambodian people as well as regional transportation customers. Along with the advantages and important role of this bridge, I think this bridge will be “a bridge that brings fortunes, a bridge that brings opportunities” to increase economicdynamism and a catalyst for cooperation and economic integration in the region and the world. Indeed, the development of National Road No.1 with the construction of Neak Loeung bridge will certainly enhance the capacity of the road supporting regional transportation traffics focusing on the principle Connecting two big ASEAN Highways or Sub-Mekong Region Highway, they are ASEAN highway connecting Phnom Penh to Bangkok, Hochi Minh, and road from Kun Ming of the People’s Republic China connecting to Vientiane, Laos, passing by the National Road No.7 and No.4 of Cambodia toward the port in Sihanoukville and crossing the Mekong River, a big and famous river of the region because it provides not only water and fertile soils for people’s living and Mekong river agriculture but also plays an important role as a road transportation, commerce and communication between people in the entire region and provides cultures base, and great civilizations to Cambodian people and people in the region as a whole.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Compatriots, Teachers and Students!

Taking this opportunity, to ensure the development of infrastructure especially the construction of Neak Loeung bridge and the development of areas surrounding the bridge, and ensure the effectiveness of socio-economic development and poverty reduction I would like provide comments as follows:

First, The Ministry of Public Works and Transportation and relevant ministries, institutions and local authority together evaluate and gradually study so that the ferrying site of Neak Loeung after the construction of the bridge would become a river port or a warehouse and distribution site or ship repairing factory or whatever serving economic, commerce and transportation sectors; conduct a feasibility study to develop an urban area of Neak Loeung to become a modern economic and tourism city, like a powerful dragon cub on the Mekong River and the southern economic corridor with high potential and competitiveness to be in line with the study of Japan and ADB that have determined and chosen city and urban areas along the southern economic corridor especially on national road 1 and 5 to be developed into economic and commerce centers, aimed to promote good production and distribution helping the development of ASEAN Bangkok- Phnom Penh- Hochi Minh Highway. Since Neak Loeung region has good location, which is a meeting point of the National Road No.5 and No.1 from the west and National Road No.7 and No.11 from the North and South of Cambodia, and it is favorable for international water and land transportation.

Second, I would like to encourage the construction company (Sumitomo Mitsu Construction) and the Technical Consultancy and Monitoring Company (Chodai) in cooperation with the Oriental Consultant Company of Japan to closely cooperate with each other in order to promote and ensure the success of the construction of Neak Loeung Bridge, aiming to ensure safety for the project implementers and the people who are living nearby the construction site, the sea and land transport companies as well as ensuring high technical standard and be completed on time or before the set timeline. Along with that, I would like to request the Government of Japan to transfer the technologies and help train Cambodian technical staffs on the maintenance of this modern bridge after the completion.

Third, I would like to suggest the Members of the Royal Government, all levels of local authorities, the management and officials of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, the Ministry of Economy and Finance to continue the cooperation and put further efforts in promoting the contribution in maintaining the Bridges-Roads with constant development in order to connect the transportation network in all areas inside the country as well as connecting with the neighboring countries in the long run.

Fourth, I would like to request all compatriots to support and understand in resettlement solution, which is the necessary factor for the process of building bridges-roads as well as maintaining productivity, quality and traffic safety.

Fifth, On behalf of the Royal Government, I would like to suggest all compatriots to pay attention on two important issues which are (1) to prevent the overweight transportation, which makes the hard earned bridges-roads quickly broken; and (2) to strictly abide by the traffic law in order to reduce traffic accidents, resulting in tragedy and bad effects for the society due to loss of lives, injuries of our beloved family members.

Before ending, on behalf of the Royal Government and people of Cambodia, I would like to convey my deepest thanks to the Government and people of Japan and all Aid Agencies, especially Japan, who have always paid attention to provide the support in all kinds spiritually, materially and financially for the cause of national unification, restoration and socio-economic development in all sectors through improvement and construction of the transport infrastructure, which is the key for economic growth and poverty alleviation of the people.

At the same time, with the request from our compatriots and local authority of Loeuk Dek District of Kandal Province, I would like to take this opportunity to Officially Inaugurate the Construction of the National Road No.118 with the length of 42.50 Kilometers (from Neak Loeung to Kaorm Samnor) and the Construction of 36 Bridges with the length of 759 Kilometers(among the 45 bridges) by using the national budget according to the Toad Pace Strategy, which started the construction since 2008 to 2010 by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport to be kept as souvenir for the people living in Loeuk Dek District of Kandal Province. I would like to express my appreciation with deepest thanks to the people, local authorities of Loeuk Dek District in the construction areas and related Ministries, who have cooperated in constructing this bridge with success.

Finally, together with the Official Inauguration of the Construction of Mekong Crossing Bridge in Neak Loeung, the Grant from the Royal Government of Japan, I would like to wish the venerable monks, H.E BANNO Yutaka, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, National and International Guests, Civil Servants, Teachers and Students the four gems of Buddhist blessing:Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.