Venerable Samdech Preah Mahasomethea Thipadey Nun Nget, Buddhist Clergy Director of the Kingdom of Cambodia
Your Venerable Monks,
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished National and International Guests,
Dear Compatriots, Teachers, and Students!
Today, I and my wife have a great pleasure in coming here to join the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of concrete bridge crossing the Tonle Sap and road connecting the bridge to the National Road No. 6A at Prek Pnov in Russei Keo district. In this cheerful gathering, I and my wife would like to congratulate your venerable monks, elders and those people residing in this region as well as travelers who will benefit from another new valuable achievement, namely the Tonle Sap-crossing bridge and road connecting the north-end of the bridge to the National Road No. 6A, which is BOT investment project of L.Y.P Group Co., Ltd. Even though, it is a toll project, we will receive enormous economic and social benefits.
At the same time, I would like to extend my warmest welcome to Oknha Ly Yong Phat, Chairman of the L.Y.P Group Co., Ltd,who has invested significant amount of capital to contribute to the development of the country toward progresses and prosperities. Such active participation is a great gesture from private sector responding to meet the increasing day by day demand for infrastructure.
Taking this opportunity, I and my wife highly appreciate the efforts made by the Phnom Penh Municipality and other relevant institutions in pushing forward this investment project. It is a new hope and a piece of evidence that reflects the partnership between the private sector and the government in infrastructure development. We do not only consider infrastructure as “the locomotive of economic growth”, but also the effective mean for integration of the country both in the region and the world. At the same time, we hope that this construction project will lift face of Phnom Penh – which is the heart of the Kingdom of Cambodia and is the center of politics, administration, diplomacy, economy, commerce, industry and tourism – as well as enlarge the city to the another extend.
According to the report from H.E. Kep Chutema, Phnom Penh Governor, this concrete bridge crossing Tonle Sap is 1,543.7 meters long and 14 meters wide and the connected road is 8,170.52 meters long and 12 meters wide. The investment cost is about 42,550,000 US dollars. The construction of the bridge and road are planned to take 28 months and expected to complete by mid of 2010. The business operation will continue for 30 years from the official inauguration. Technically speaking, size of this bridge and road is very suitable to ease traffic condition at the present time. Moreover, this construction project responses to the Development Master Plan of Phnom Penh, which requires such construction following the demand for bridges and roads within and at the surrounding areas of the city.
It is true that social needs are growing from day to day in every sector, in particular the increase in traffic. In current situation, if we do not promote private investment on roads and bridges, we would not be able to address traffic congestion, regional integration, economic efficiency and equal distribution of growth. At the end of day, rural stays the same and remote area remains inaccessible and there are no developments.
In addition, the road and bridge that we are inaugurating today will be the historic construction for people in this area as well as for the Phnom Penh dwellers, because this road and bridge are the strategic corridor for integrating the west and east regions, that have never been done before in our history. This connection is my strong intention, which I have always mentioned that “developing the west but not forgetting the east”. Therefore, this road and bridge will balance the development in both sides and is also one of the common aspects of gaining benefits.
In another aspect, this bridge and road will ease the burden of traffic congestion along the National Road No. 6A to the Cambodia – Japan Friendship Bridge in Chrouy Changva. Along with that, this bridge and road will shorten the traveling time and the distance between the National Road No. 6A to the National Road No 5, 4 and 3. This achievement will play an important base role for the investment in this area. In this sense, this bridge will be playing a role as a catalyst of the national transport system as well as the catalyst for the equal growth distribution.
The advantage of investment on this bridge and road is truly a right scenario, in line with the highly economic potential circumstances and locations, which is necessarily supported and promoted. It is of course, not happening by chance but by the firm and great efforts of the Royal Government in the cause of internal integration, economic efficiency, equality of growth distribution, and the solution to traffic congestion.
The bridge and road construction is a strategic work in implementing the pacification and physical integration policy of Cambodia as well as promoting and sustaining economic growth and poverty reduction of our people. Through this, the Royal Government has been trying to restore and build roads and bridges all over the country. As a result, the Royal Government of the 3rd Legislature has promoted the building of new important national roads in the north, northeast, east and central part of the country, by achieving the building of the national roads with the length of 895 km and the national roads of 1,015 km is now being constructed and is expected to be completed by the next mandate and the restoration of the 2 lines of railway from Phnom Penh-Poipet and from Phnom Penh-Sihanouk Ville.
The improvement of the physical infrastructure such as roads, transportation network, telecommunication network, electricity grid; and the maintenance of the macroeconomic stability made Cambodia receive the annual average economic growth of approximately 11.1% during the last 4 years, in which the per capita income increased from 394 USD in 2004 to 589 USD in 2007, the international reserves increased from 809 millions USD in 2004 to 1.6 billions USD in 2007 and the poverty rate declined from 35% in 2004 to 31% in 2007. This aspect shows that the economic growth and the poverty reduction have the direct relationship with the development of the physical infrastructure.
In this sense, I would like to appeal to the competent institutions, especially the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) and the local authorities to gather all means and approaches to attract the investors to invest in physical infrastructure along the Upper Mekong River, Lower Mekong River, Basak River, Tonle Sap to Tonle Sap Lake and other highly economic potential areas.
Along with that, I would like to appeal to all our people living in this area of bridge and road construction and all levels of local authorities to provide good cooperation, which is an ideal character of Khmer people so that the construction of this bridge and road could be smoothly implemented as planned.
Before ending, I would like to suggest the consultants and technical teams of this construction to pay more attention to inspect the quality and standards in order to reassure that this achievement would be long lasting.
At the end, with the crowded gathering opportunity for the ground breaking ceremony of Tonle Sap-crossing concrete bridge and the construction of road connecting from eastern part of the bridge with the National Road No. 6A, I would like to wish Your Venerable Monks, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen and all our Compatriots, Teachers and Students the four Gems of Buddhist Blessing: longevity, nobility, health and strength.