Your Venerable Buddhist Monks,
Your Excellencies, Members of Senate and National Assembly,
Your Excellency Takahashi Fumiaki, Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia,
Distinguished National and International Guests,
Our Beloved Compatriots,
Today, it is my great honor and pleasure to participate in the opening of the construction sites for 2 bridges along the National Road 1 from Phnom Penh to Neak Leung, which is financed by a grant from the Royal Government of Japan. Taking this ample opportunity, may I ask Your Excellency Ambassador of Japan, H.E Takahashi Fumiaki, to convey to the Royal Government and People of Japan a deep gratitude from the Royal Government and People of Cambodia.
For Cambodia, Japan has become our biggest donor and most important development partner. Japan has, constantly and in any circumstances, provided us with both financial and technical support in the form of grant and large amounts of concessional loans for peace building and national reconciliation as well as for the reconstruction and development of infrastructure in Cambodia.
In the rehabilitation and development of Cambodia, Japan has contributed tremendous amount of funding and technology as well as its human resource, especially for the transport infrastructure. For instance, since 1993, the Royal Government of Japan has continuously provided support to restore and rebuild road and bridge infrastructure across the nation. Those structures are all of great magnificence and long-lasting. Among the key achievements, we can name a few such as the construction of Chroy Changva Bridge, National Road 6A, Phnom Penh Port, Sihanoukville Port, a road link connecting NR6a to Kampong Cham’s Provincial Town, NR7 connecting Kizona Bridge to Tnal Tateng, NR2 connecting Takeo and Vietnamese border, NR6 from Roluos to Siem Reap, and the maintenance and building of power grids, clean water, education, social works, health and Buddhism, and so many other areas. All these have enabled Cambodia to maintain, rebuild and develop our country with promising changes and pride.
Moreover, the most profound and memorable assistance is the construction of a new bridge across Mekong river which is named the Great Kinoza Bridge representing a great treasure at Tole Bet in Kampong Cham. In the near future, Japan plans to build another huge bridge at Neak Leung, which is now under feasibility study and continues to support Cambodia in other development areas. All the assistances reflects Japan’s sympathy for Cambodia and its willingness to encourage the Royal Government of Cambodia to move forward with the reforms which have been implemented on the right track and with steady progress in order to modernize and develop the country.
In addition to the ODA from the Royal Government of Japan, Cambodia has also received many other aids from Japanese NGOs and generous individuals, which are directly provided to our people to build schools, hospitals, ponds and wells. This generous assistance is unforgettable for Cambodians because it helps contribute to the poverty reduction among our people.
Now, Japan provides ¥796 million (approximately $7,291,380.41 USD) worth of grant build the bridges at two locations, which we are today breaking the ground for the construction to start. This represents the first phase out of 3 phases of development plan for the NR1 from Phnom Penh to Neak Leung. At the same time, the Royal Government of Japan is studying the provision of more grants for the construction of the second bridge across Mekong river at Neak Leung in order to upgrade the NR1 to become a GMS and Asia AI Highway.
His Excellency Sun Chanthol, Minister of Public Works and Transport, has already elaborated in his report about various benefits of the NR1 from Phnom Penh to Neak Leung. This represents a new great asset coming out of the Japan’s grant, including vigorous study by the Japanese technicians for the construction plan on the NR1, which, in broader sense, would contribute to the development of the whole Cambodia’s economy and society. The region in which this road crosses are plantation and rice fields that scratch along Mekong river and usually suffer from series of serious flooding. It also represents a populated area with large factories and various plants which are located near Phnom Penh. Therefore, the construction of the bridge must use common techniques to serve the transportation and irrigation activities. It is this idea that motivates the construction of the two bridges first in order to play its role as strategic bridges which provides 3 common benefits: (i) the facilitation of transportation services with regional standard, (ii) facilitation of irrigation raising the efficiency of the agriculture by preserving water for plantation for people living along the road, and (iii) to provide water-gates to prevent flooding which causes damage to plantation and farms on the southern part of the bridge, and protect and rehabilitate this NR1 from the flow of water which could pressure and damage the road and hence the transportation flow which are national and international in nature.
Moreover, by allowing water to flow freely ups and downs through this irrigation bridges, it can brings mud and enrich fishery resource. “It is like using one arrow to kill three birds at a time”. The construction of bridges at kilometer-42 in Pur Meiv Village, Kor Ki Thom Commune and Kein Svay District, and at kilometer-47 in Somrong Thum Commune, Kein Svay District which have the capacity to support transportation weighs up to 25 tones, represents the bridge’s capacity upgrading in accordance with the construction of NR1 from Phnom Penh to Neak Leung in the second and third phase. Thus the road will serve as blood cells which will be feeding Cambodia’s economy and society in a higher capacity, while promoting economic growth and providing employment and many other opportunities for the people of Cambodia to generate incomes to support their livings and families and to further upgrade their education and well-being.
The implementation of NR1 development project from Phnom Penh to Nak Leuong, started with the construction of most important bridges, is happening while Cambodia extremely needs potential means to boost economic growth for the development of the country by integrating into herself into the region and the world in order to take global opportunity to enhance productivity and trade exchange in all sectors.
At the same time, the Royal Government holds its further strong commitments to accomplish its policy agenda of the Rectangle Strategy, which comprehensively covers all sectors to promote Growth Employment Equality and Efficiency to achieve the Cambodian Millennium Development Goal and precisely future-oriented development, pro-poor and rural development. In this regard, the government still regards the restoration and development of transport infrastructure: routes waterways and railways as prioritized policies needed to take into consideration and to further enhance the areas. Routes and bridges are hope and important means for pushing the locomotive of socio-economic growth and for improving well-being and human intellectual. With good routes and bridges, people could rapidly transfer large amount of products in good condition, less time, cheap and to good markets. With good routes and bridges, it could attract investors from all areas to invest in industry, agriculture and tourism. This generates many jobs to people.
With high pride of the outcomes that we have difficultly achieved and optimism about the bright future of Cambodia, I encourage the MOPWT’s management and officials, authorities at all levels and concerned ministries to continue their good cooperation and determination to fulfill their mandates in linking and maintaining road networks to all corners of the country. Moreover, people’s participation is necessary for enhancing road/bridge construction and maintenance in term of productivity, quality, safety, as well as for private and state property protection and their lives by improving road/bridge maintenance, driving more carefully to avoid more accidents and especially prevent from heavy loads.
In concluding, on behalf of the Royal Government and People of Cambodia, I would like to reiterate our gratitude to our friends both people and governments and all development partners for their strong supports for the cause of national reconciliation, reconstruction, and social and economic development of Cambodia in every sector, especially the improvement and construction of transport infrastructure which is key to boost economic growth and reduce the poverty.
Taking this opportunity, I would like also to congratulate the Japanese “KATAHIRA” Company (technical monitor) and the “OBAYASHI” company (project implementer) for winning the contracts. I encourage them to uphold their responsibility and closely cooperate with each other in order to complete the project with high quality on time or before the schedule. Thus, the bridges can play its role as traffic facilitation with high international standard and as well as irrigation function.
Finally, may I wish Your Venerable Monks, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen the five gems of Buddhist blessing. May I now announce the opening of the construction of the 2 strategic bridges on NR1 from Phnom Penh to Nak Loeung.