Your Venerable Monks,
Your Excellency Pan Guanxue, China’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia,
Excellencies, Senators, Members of the Parliament, and Members of the Royal Government,
Excellencies, Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen, National and International Guest
Dear all Compatriots, teachers, students!
Today, it is my great pleasure with privilege to be here again with H.E. Pan Guanxue, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Cambodia in the opening of the construction site of Takmao Bridge following the groundbreaking Ceremony for the construction of the national Road No. 41 which was held on May 18, 2011. Once again, I would like to kindly request H.E. Pan Guanxue to forward the deepest gratitude from the Royal Government and People of Cambodia to the Government and People of the People’s Republic of China, who is very close friend and can be considered as siblings because the people and both nations have close historical relationship. The People’s Republic of China is a special development partner who provides enormous grants and loans timely with no intricate conditions for the restoration and development of Cambodia in all sectors, especially the four prioritized sectors, namely water, electricity, road and human resource development, by allowing us to send our human resources in all fields to train and share experience in People’s Republic of China every year. Since 2004, China has provided loans, totally amounting to around 800 million USD, to restore and construct roads and bridges, with the total road length of 1, 500 kilometers long and the three long bridges with the length of 3,104 meters, namely Sekong, Prek Kdam and Prek Tamak Bridges.
We will also build Takmao Bridge with the length of 855 meters long and a new Chroy Changva Bridge with the length of 725 meters long, in which the groundbreaking ceremony will be held on November 02, 2011. These physical infrastructures do not only provide effective transportation means to accelerate economic growth, but help significantly reduce the hardship and poverty of our people. The Government and people of the Kingdom of Cambodia will continue to highly value and always remember the profound deed as mentioned above of the government and Chinese people in the Cambodia’s history.
Indeed, this bridge will be served as another catalyst for supporting the development, promoting economic growth, and fostering prosperity of the society. This would be contributed to poverty alleviation, by reducing time and transportation costs of carrying goods from the eastern part of Tonle Bassac to the Town of Kandal province without crossing Phnom Penh Capital. People, who have so far living in Cham Pous Kaek village of Prek Thmei Kbal Kos, Mean Chey District with only 855 meters long between the river bank, are likely to live far away from each other a number of kilometers because if the people, living in the eastern part of the river, want to travel to Takmao, they have to take the ferry crossing the river, pay and wait for it for long time or has to travel to the national road number 1, Preah Monivong Bridge and then turning back to Takmao town, with the length of about 9 kilometers. Therefore, our citizens have to spend almost an hour on travelling if there is no traffic congestion with the length of about 20 kilometers. However, when the Takmao Bridge is built, people, who are living at Prek Eik and Veal Sboav, are able to travel safely to Takmao with about only 10 minutes to Takmao with no cost.
Moreover, this bridge also would help divert crowded traffic and overweight tracks away from the two Preah Monivong bridges and would reduce traffic congestion in Phnom Penh because we can travel from National Road Number 1, by crossing the Takmao bridge, to Takeo, Kampong Speu, Preah Sihanouk or Kampot, Koh Kong province and turn to Kampong Chhnang, Pussat and BattamBang province without crossing Phnom Penh. In addition, the road, which is built to connect with the bridge make it convenient for our citizens to travel from the four newly established Sangkats at eastern bay, namely Prek Thmey, Kbal koh, Prek Eng, and Veal Sbov to the National Road Number 1 at Prek Eng market and from three newly established Sangkats at western bay, namely Taktol, Kampong Samnaing and Takwav to those four communes of the Meanchey district quickly. These would save the travelling distance of about 20 kilometers and about one hour of time. In general, Takmao Bridge and linking roads have facilitated a lot the traveling of people to other areas nationwide, in which we have determined to be internal integrations.
Also, it has provided a passage linking regional transport areas, connecting national road no. 1, a meeting point of transports from the Cambodia-Vietnam border, to national road no. 3 or national road no. 4 to seaports, and can be connected further to national road no. 5 going toward the Cambodia-Thailand border with no need to pass through Phnom Penh capital and shorter time, as the distance is shorter and fewer traffic jams in the Phnom Penh capital, which at present is facing traffic jams everyday as the number cars is increasing continuously. In addition, the cut-down of heavy transports on both Monivong bridges, by diverting of some heavy transports to Takmao Bridge, would help better maintain the condition and sustainability of both bridges and reduce the public expenditure for maintenance. In parallel, this bridge will not obstruct the waterway and water current, as technically the size of gaps between each pillar is made different to allow for the waterway and water current.
This favorable condition would help develop other sectors including agriculture, industry, tourism, commerce and internal integration and regional and global integrations because areas along national road no. 3 have a lot of potential in agriculture and industry and natural resources such as cement and the well-known salt as well as fertile lands for growing pepper, rambutan and durian and other products that help fulfill the need of Cambodian people and exports; also it is a nature tourism area that can bring a lot of national and international tourists to coastal areas of Kep, Preah Sihanouk Province, Koh Kong and Bokor as such.
All these are the key to attract national and international investments that can bring variety of jobs and careers and markets and commerce for our nation and our people, which are an effective means for providing income for the livelihoods of our people and the government. This is the advantage of the bridge and road, having roads is having everything; roads bring prosperity as a Chinese idiom goes if you want to succeed in the business, make roads first and a Cambodian idiom goes “Having roads is having hope”.
The construction of this bridge is the involvement of Cambodia in achieving the goal of international community, which is to have the Asia’s roads and ASEAN highway roads linked as well as the development of corridors along the coastal areas with the aim to connect bridges with roads that the community have determined to be highway roads. Referring to these goals, Takmao Bridge does not only help promote the economic growth and society of Cambodia but also of the entire region as this bridge helps link roads that the international community have determined to be woven into Greater Mekong Sub-region corridors, ASEAN roads and Asia’s roads for the cause of the economy, commerce and cooperation with other neighboring countries; that is aimed to better maintain well-being, peace and the development of the country and the region because if there is a woven network of roads it would be more convenient for us to travel with reduced time and reasonable transport costs, and all communications at all places can be carried out responding to the need of the people and the entire country, particularly the travel to Phnom Penh capital, the centre of politics, economy, commerce, education, and culture, that can help speed up the development and effectively protect our sovereignty, territorial integrity and national reputation.
Furthermore, the construction of this Takmao Bridge has made the dreams and hopes of the people living around roads in Kampong Speu province, Takeo province, and Kandal province become real, which is unthinkable in Cambodia’s history. Based on this view, I requested the Government of the People’s Republic of China to provide funding for the construction of this bridge since 2006 but the impact study and the benefits of this bridge for the entire nation and international community and the people required thorough and detailed examinations that needed a long time for, as a result this project begins at this time that is five years after the concessional loan agreement above.
In the proud spirit of all achievements that we have been accomplishing through active efforts of the management and technical officials of ministries-institutions and local authorities as well as cooperation from development partners, especially our great Chinese friend in the rehabilitation, construction and development and maintenance of roads and bridges nationwide.
On behalf the Royal Government, and I myself, support and encourage the continuous construction, development and maintenance activities of roads, bridges, waterway, railways, ports, and airports in order to ensure great achievements in the reduction of hardship and poverty of the people as well as the protection of territorial integrity in the West of the country, paralleling with development efforts of other sectors in order to ensure the prosperity, peace, social order, political stability and welfare and good and sustainable livelihoods of our people. In this spirit, along with the optimistic view on the bright future of Cambodia, I would like to leave a message for members of the Royal Government, local authority at all level, in addition the management and officials at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, to continue the cooperation and hard-work in fulfilling duties more vigorously in order to ensure sustainable traffics in all areas of the country and the connection with the neighboring countries in the region in both dry and rainy seasons.
Meanwhile, the participation of the community residents is a vital factor to stimulate the processes of building roads and bridges and their maintenance. Thus, please understand the resettlement solution on your lands and accommodations impacted by the project. I would like to thanks the head of the Prek Samroang Buddhist monastery for helps facilitate on time of the moving a part of the pagoda land and the owners of the stupas for moving their stupas voluntarily.
At the same time, I would like to further reminding all of the community residents in addition to the suggestion of H.E Minster of the Ministry of Public work and Transportation that traffic law must be highly respected to avoid traffic accident and to maintain public and private properties. Therefore, I would like to remind all of the community residents again and again that you must be carefully driving, respect the limited speed, wearing helmet, wearing belt, don’t drive while getting drunk and stop overloaded transportation which is the main cause of roads and bridges destruction.
In the meantime, as a Royal Government and Cambodian people I would like to thanks those partnership governments, international agencies and all partners for development for providing credits to reestablish and develop Cambodia in every sector. I am really appreciate the Ministers and the subordinates in the Ministry of Public work and Transportation, local authorities and all other concerned institutions who have highly committed for building roads and bridges across the country. Especially, I would like to congratulate and appreciate the SANGHAY Group Company for successfully won the biding of building project; and the Kvang Chov Van Arn Company in charges in inspection of technical in building processes. I am strongly confident that both of the companies will fulfill their individual duties in the building of Takmao Bridge with high quality and to be accomplished on or before schedule.
Before ending, may I wish the respected Venerable Monks, Your Excellencies, Lok Chum Teav, Ladies and Gentlemen, the distinguished national and international guests, teachers and students the four gems of Buddhist blessing.
I would like to officially announce the construction of Takmao Bridge from now on!