Public Works Minister Sun Chanthol has established two groups with the authority to carry out surprise inspections on road construction and renovation projects.
Mr Chanthol said the move comes after private firms and ministry officials failed to ensure quality construction and repairs.
In a video on the ministry’s website on Monday, Mr Chanthol said the groups will carry out road inspections and answer directly to him.
“The two groups work exclusively for me, they are not directed by any department directors or secretaries of state,” Mr Chanthol said. “I’ve provided cars, machines and other equipment for them to carry out independent missions.”
He noted the groups will conduct inspections without prior notice.
Mr Chanthol said the groups will also inspect the work of ministry officials involved in construction projects, noting that appropriate action will be taken if necessary.
He said the establishment of the groups comes after the ministry discovered some under-construction and completed roads did not meet technical standards. Mr Chanthol said because inspectors failed to report them, traffic accidents occurred and time and money were wasted.
“I acknowledge public complaints and criticism over the poor quality roads,” he said. “I admit that some roads were not constructed with technical standards. It was somewhat the fault of our ministry officials.”
Ministry spokesman Va Sim Sorya yesterday said ministry officials are planning to hold meetings with companies in order to ensure quality construction.
“Ministry officials will hold regular meetings with companies to disseminate procedures on how to improve the quality of road construction,” Mr Sim Sorya said.
Meas Proeksa, acting vice chairman of the Cambodian Constructors Association, yesterday said the establishment of the two groups will draw the attention of companies.
However, Mr Proeksa noted many factors contribute to road damage.
“I am optimistic the groups will take part in improving road quality,” he said. “However, we must be aware that road damage involves many factors, such as how the road was constructed, how it was renovated and how it was used.”
Kong Ratanak, deputy director of the Road Safety Institute, yesterday said the ministry must look to improve the capacity of its officials.
“It’s a good move to have the special groups do additional inspection to ensure road quality,” Mr Ratanak said. “But at the same time, the ministry should also strengthen officials’ ability and get rid of officials who did wrong.”