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$91M to be spent on roads

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A flooded street in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district on October 15, 2020. Heng Chivoan

$91M to be spent on roads

The government plans to spend at least $91 million to fix 670 rural roads spanning nearly 5,400km after heavy floods washed out the roadways in October.

Ministry of Rural Development secretary of state Chan Darong said in a November 24 press conference that a working group had identified flood-damaged roads in most provinces and the capital, but the government had prioritised rural roads for reconstruction. He said the government needs $91 million to rebuild rural roads across the country.

Darong said the three provinces with the most serious road damage were Banteay Meanchey and Pursat, which need $9.2 million for repairs, and Battambang, which needs $3.6 million.

“We just need the money. At the same time, the Ministry of Economy and Finance has decided to provide about $15 million to solve this problem. For the rest, the state will seek funding from development partners because some roads need to be repaired and rehabilitated immediately. Some roads don’t need to be repaired urgently, so we have to divide the budget into stages,” Darong said.

He said the government also plans to spend about $900,000 to rehabilitate 4,155 clean-water wells in eight affected provinces.

Pa Chanroeun, president of the NGO Cambodian Institute for Democracy, said the relevant institutions should repair damaged roads to a high standard as soon as possible so Cambodians can travel safely.

“The repair and construction of more poorly constructed roads will not only waste the national budget, but it will cause more and more damage to the infrastructure and even higher costs. It also affects travel, trade and people’s lives as well,” he said.

Aside from the high-priority provinces of Banteay Meanchey, Pursat, and Battambang, six other provinces were given preference for repairs – Kampong Speu, Siem Reap, Pailin, Kandal, Kampong Chhnang and Oddar Meanchey.

As of November 24, the government had restored or improved 11,155km of roads in Phnom Penh and the provinces.

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