During a visit to the water reservoir of Krahamkor in the commune of Srah Chalk, district of Oreang Ov of Kompong Cham province, Samdech Hun Sen discoursed on selected memories relating to the site, issues of drought and rain prediction.
… After the report by HE Lim Keanhor, Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the efforts made by the people of the three districts around the reservoir of Krahamkor, Oreang Ov of Kompong Cham, Kanhchreach and Komchay Mea of Prey Veng province. After my visit here on January 07 this year, today’s visit is indeed a chance for me to recall my living here in the past. If I was not mistaken, I came by and spent the night in February 1973 in the village of Tuol Takey.
… Our people here may remember that somewhere nearby the Tuol Takey pagoda, there was then a Pol Pot troop location taking part in a military exercise aimed at opening attack on the (Lon Nol’s) troops at the Tonle Bet barrack. The third anniversary of the March-1973 declaration and appeal of Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, who headed the Front for the Salvation of Kampuchea, to liberate our people from foreign expression, eventually brought me to this area. In 1973, as a commander from (the Kompong Cham) military region and those from the (Prey Veng’s) region met for a discussion near the rubber plantation, in what was an order to launch an assault into the town of Kompong Cham.
… After being wounded in the assault, I was brought to the hospital KII in those days for the treatment of my eye’s wound. It was also from this place since before my eye wound I was in the Baoslung’s military training camp, and from there I was sent to Doeum Sdao in the district of Koh Sotin. My wife was also sent to Prek Korng Khnong and Prek Korng Krao for labor work to build dikes for rice fields, which links one part to this canal that we are building today.
… After my visit to inaugurate the Buddhist temple of Chroy Thmar of Kompong Cham, I came here with HE former Governor of Kompong Cham HE Mr. Chieng Am to visit the irrigation by the group of HE Lim Keanhor in the area around the lake of Krahamkor. I have recommended and ordered a thorough study of the water resource and its irrigation coverage potential to be conducted. Indeed we have more requests from our elderly people here to have more roads renovated, etc. I would respond that what we have been doing so far has indeed begun and more needs to be fulfilled. I order that the water resource with so extensive potential of the Krahamkor reservoir should be made use to a full extent and effectively as it covers a huge area from Kompong Cham province to Prey Veng and Svay Rieng provinces, with a start in the district of Oreang Ov of Tropeang Chor and Kanhchreach of Kamchay Mea.
… Our way forwards is to put in more water canals to address our need for water for irrigation. Having said so I would suggest that where there have been water reservoirs, one has to tackle problems in making use of the water potential for irrigation in the area, no matter how far it could be, one kilometer, twenty or even thirty kilometers. We have to do it bit by bit everyday, and not necessarily all at once. As the construction of such facilities is running throughout the country, we have an inadequate number of construction machines to respond to all at the same time, as our budget is limited. As we are building canals, I would respond here to the request for roads that all canals will have the soil from canal holes built as roads.
… Working towards rural areas, three components of action should be interchangeably applied – 1) irrigation, 2) roads and 3) schools, which are the three priorities. In some places we have in the past provided either with schools or roads, or both, water for irrigation should perhaps be shifted in to the focus, as we could solve only one need at a time. This year we have a serious problem of drought though I have notice during my flight here that some rains have come to some parts of our country, but some are still going to miss the early rainy season rice. There have been rains in Battambang, Pursath and some areas, but none has come to Kompong Speu, for which reason the canals “Ta Hor” (or canals built by Mr. Lim Keanhor) about 70 kilometers is left completely dried.
… In Vietnam, there have been some rains in the south but not in the north leaving their hydro-power insufficient of water to turn the turbine. In Thailand they are trying their best to make rain, but drought is still present in many places. Today we organize the traditional ploughing ceremony. I do not know what those oxen would eat and what the prediction will be from the Royal experts. I have not been attending the ceremony since 2000 because I can’t imagine that things would turn out the way those oxen behave, if we do not make efforts to resolve them.
… I would in this instance urge our people not to sell all-out land ownership just to exercise political party affiliation rights. I would not be against the practice, but once you sold out all your properties and you could get nothing back, you become deprived farmers, the result of which you blame on the Government to make the country poorer. I think they should not let themselves be cheated anymore. As I understand our people should strengthen solidarity to identify their common problems and seek out means to resolve them, no matter if it was an issue of school, road or water canal. I would not want to hear, in the coming communal elections in 2007, and the general election in 2008, of people being cheated.
… As a contribution to bring down the agricultural input, I would seek all means to slash the price. I would attract more investors to come to Cambodia to produce fertilizer in the country so that the price would be encouraging for our farmers. I would like to see high yield and output when we have canals for irrigation. HE Minister of Agriculture Chan Sarun would soon send here new rice seed so that we could produce from two to four ton of paddy rice per hectare. Once the yield is high our people will have a better living condition. I wish to also have good students when there are schools building everywhere. In our combat against poverty all I am asking for is our people’s participation, and it is indeed a pleasure once the poverty chain is broken off.
… As for those requests I have here, I am offering two school buildings of ten classrooms to the secondary school of Tuol Takey, a school building of five classrooms to its primary school, and a three-room office building plus the latrines, two school buildings of ten classrooms to the Secondary School of Tuol Sophi, one five-classroom for the primary school and a three-room building, together will be 18 rooms in response to demand only ten rooms. I wish to also contribute a sum of five million Riels to the Primary School of Puddhea for the leveling of land in the school yard and school fence, ten million Riels for the finishing of the roof of the Buddhist temple of Tropeang Rokar pagoda, with a six-classroom school building, ten million Riels for the pagoda of Chalk commune to buy roof tiles, and a rood of three kilometers to the people of the village of Choeung Ok in the Chalk commune.