Monday, February 28, 2011

Speech at the Official Inauguration of the Prek Tamak Bridge

January 24, 2011

Your Venerable Monks,
H.E PAN GUANG XUE, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Cambodia,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Beloved Compatriots, Teachers and Students!

I am pleased and honored to be here to officially inaugurate the Mekong-Crossing Prek Tamak Bridge. I would like to congratulate the people living in and nearby this area on the achievement of a new bridge, which will further improve your living standard. Along with this, I would like to convey my warmest welcome to H.E. PAN GUANG XUE, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Cambodia, and his subordinates on the occasion of the Official Inauguration of the Mekong-Crossing Prek Tamak Bridge, linking the National Road No.6 to the National Road No.8 at Ksach Kandal District. The construction of this bridge has been financed by a part of the USD 300 million loan from the Government of the People’s Republic of China and 5% from the Royal Government of Cambodia. This 1,066-meter-long and 13.5-meter-wide bridge, which complies with class-1 standard of the People’s Republic of China, costs USD 43,503,619, of which USD 41,325,438 are loaned by the Government of the People’s Republic of China and USD 2,178,180.95 comes from the Cambodia’s counter fund. This bridge will be a growth and local development catalyst. Put it simple, those who drive their motorcycles across this bridge can save at least 2000 Riels usually paid to ferry operators.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to apologize for the delay of the inauguration of this bridge, which was initially planned during the visit of H.E. LI KEQIANG, First Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China, on September 9, 2010 due to flooding and landslide disasters in Gansu.

Taking this opportunity, through H.E. PAN GUANG XUE, I would like to convey Cambodia’s deepest gratitude to the people and Government of the People’s Republic of China. Indeed, China has been a long time friend and a big contributor to Cambodia’s development effort, especially in transport sector. In particular, some road-bridge construction projects have been completed, while others are being and will be constructed. Thousand kilometers of national, provincial and rural roads have been constructed and rehabilitated to link all corners of the country to promote both domestic and interstate trade and business activities. In this connection, investment on physical infrastructure remains one of our priorities in socio-economic development effort, like a slogan that goes “Where there are roads, there is hope”.

What makes us happier and prouder are that during my mid-December 2010 visit, the People’s Republic of China approved additional loan packages to finance many construction projects in Cambodia, including:

  1. The 144.27-Km National Road No.59, (from Koun Damrei Village to the National Road No.5 Malai – Sampov Loun – Phnom Preks – Kamrieng – Pailin) which is planned for the groundbreaking ceremony on February 15, 2011.
  2. The 176.35-Km National Road No.57B (from Thmor Kol – Borvil – Sampov Loun – Borvil – Phnom Preks Phoum Sam Seb – Kamrieng) which is scheduled for the groundbreaking ceremony on March 21, 2011.
  3. The New Phnom Penh Port project which is scheduled for the construction opening on March 2, 2011, and
  4. The Second Chruoy Changvar Bridge – Ta Kmao Bridge – National Road No.41 (Kampong Tram – Bor Seth – Chum Kiri)

Besides, we have other projects that would be completed and open for use in 2011 such as (1) National Road No.67 Snoul- Sen Monorom (127 Km) (2) National Road No.57 Battambang- Pailin- Cambodia-Thai border (103. 14 Km) (3) National Road No.62 Tbeng Meanchey to Preah Vihear mountain and (4) Road No.210 from the cross junction of Koh Ke temple to Tbeng Meanchey with a total distance of 150 Km. Along with this, we have other national roads projects that are in the process of construction and would be completed in subsequent years in the future such as (1) National Road No.62 128Km from Kampong Thom to Tbeng Meanchey, (2) National Road No.6 (109 Km) and two cross roads Kam Nat 8-1 562Km (Kro Bao- Meun Chey) and Kam Nat 8-2 18.59 Km (Anglong Chrey- Ponhia Krek) (3) National Road No.78 (123.1Km O Pong Morn - Banlung) (4) National Road No.61 (16Km) from Prek Kdam to Thnal Kaeng and (5) Road from Sen Monorom toward Vietnam’s borders at Dak Deng bridge in Moldolkiri province.

In addition, we have projects that would be supported principally by aids from the Government of the People Republic of China’s and are under study (feasibility study, engineering plan, price negotiation, guarantee letters from Ministry of Justice, environmental impacts evaluation, and aid contracts preparation and so on); Constructions of those projects would be open at the end of 2011 or the beginning of 2012, that includes (1) Road 214 from Tbeng Meanchey passing through Srok Chep to Thala Barivat and bridge crossing Mekong river at Steung Treng province with a total distance of 135 Km, which is the second sub-corridor of the southern economic corridor in the framework of sub-Mekong region (2) National Road No.76 from Sen Monorom passing Srok Koh Nhek, Srok Lum Phat 171.78 Km linking with National Road No.78.

All these achievements, in part, will make a big contribution to the socio-economic development of Cambodia in the near future.

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

It is true that for many decades our compatriots going Vihea Sour area and its surrounding areas through national road 6A have to spend hours for the distance less then 30 Km from Phnom Penh capital. Even though the distance is only 30 Km if we have no this bridge, those areas seem to be far away from Phnom Penh and other urban areas, which makes the development of the area late: lacking all sorts of physical infrastructure, losing opportunity developing all sectors, and making the living standards of people in this area falling behind other areas with sufficient roads. This affirms as saying, there are roads, there is hope”.

Indeed, after opening for use since July 21th 2010 people have had more chances to earn income from trading products in the areas as well as international businesses. Now, our people can travel to Kampong Cham province such as Rattanakiri, Modolkiri, Steung Treng, Kratie passing through Prek Tamak bridge and National Road No.4 linking with the bridge at Svay Orntor, taking shorter time than using National road 7 and passing through National Road 1. In addition, this achievement has also reduced ferry traffic congestion at Neak Leung during festivals. The link between Prek Kdam bridge or Prek Phnov from National Road No.5 passing through Prek Tamak bridge has made our communication network more intertwined, creating a potential economic gate that can be linked with Anlong Chrey.

This bridge has also contributed to lifting the living standard and facilitating the services businesses and other transactions along National Road No.8 that can be made quickly to Phnom Penh and other areas in the middle and western parts of the country. In addition, traveling from Prek Tamak bridge to Prey Veng province through National Road No.8 can be done for the entire year, unlike before we had to travel on red soil roads to ferry stations or boat quays at Prek Tamak in the summer; and in the rainy season the red soils roads would be cut off by flood, requiring a lot of national budget in order to fix it everyone.

Seeing a potential opportunity like this, the Royal Government has worked hard seeking funds from the People’s Republic of China for the construction of this bridge, in order to ensure this potential area with full ability contributing to national economic growth, households’ incomes and social development. In general, this bridge has partly created an opportunity for expanding and strengthening investment scope, and context and increasing value add for international level commerce as well.

In this spirit, on behalf of the Royal of Cambodia I would like to continue adhering to the position, willingness, and support for rehabilitation and construction of physical infrastructure, which is the priority and primary policy ensuring Cambodia with even higher ability in competitiveness with other provinces in the region in the near future.

Through this, I would like to send a message to the Members of the Royal Government, local authority at all levels and the management, and all government officials at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport to continue cooperating and working hard in maintaining, repairing, and linking road networks to all areas nationwide and with neighboring countries with high quality. Through this, I have another vision that a road linking from National Road No.8 to Toul Basan and linking to Sonlob Dauntey area, former Prey Norkor city in King Korn era.

This achivement will not only connect the regional economic vein, but also highlight again the historical area of Cambodian ancestors as well as creating a newly potential historical tourism pole to serve the local and foreign tourists. In this sense, I would like to further push this working process.

Excellencies, Ladie and Gentlemen,
Beloved Compatriots, Teachers and Students!

Once again, on behalf of the Royal Government and people of Cambodia, I would like to express deepest thanks to the government and people of the friend countries and all development partners, who have always paid attention to spiritually and materially support for the development of Cambodia in all sectors. In particular, I would like to thank the Government and people of the People’s Republic of China, who have timely provided loan, without any conditions, at the request made by Cambodia, who is facing hardship and in bad need to promote economic growth and social development.

Along with that, I would like to congratulate, appreciate and encourage closer cooperation between the mangement and officials of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport with the local authorities as well as with the related institutions, who have put greates efforts in cooperation in order to achieve successful stategic planning, set by the Royal Government, especially the construction of road, bridges, railways, air routes, waterways, and seaports al over the country. At the same time, I appreciate theSianghai Group Company, who has implemented the construction project and GUANGXUE Van An Construction Monitoring Company, who is the technical advisor for this bridge construction with quality and could be completed 12 months before the schedule.

Before ending, I would like to appeal to all people who are living in this area and request all levels of local authorities to provide good cooperation, which is the perfect character of our Cambodian people, in order to contribute to maitain this bridge and road to be more sustainable with long lasting interst in the future.

Besides, I would like all people to strictly respect the traffic law with high spirit of carefullness while drving at the time we are having good bridge and road, in order to prevent the incidental accidents, causing human lives and properties; and the competent authorities must continue to put further restriction on the overweighted heavy vehicles, violated the law.

At the end, together with Official Inauguration of the Mekong Crossing Prek Tamak Bridge now, I would like to wish the Venerabke Monks, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, National and Internationa Distinguished Guests, Teachers and Students and all Compatriots the four gems of Buddhist blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.

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