The Ministry of Rural Development announced its plans to coordinate with the Ministry of Public Works and Transport to amend some sub-decrees which will allow for its involvement in preventing heavy vehicles from using and damaging rural roads.
Ministry of Rural Development secretary of state Chan Darong said at a press conference held at the Council of Ministers yesterday that the existing sub-decree, which centres on the establishment of the Overload Control Committee, does not grant jurisdiction to the ministry to implement measures that could aid in the initiative.
The Ministry of Public Works and Transport he said, has only put roadside weighing scales on national and provincial roads, leaving the rural roads damaged.
In effect, the ministry will coordinate with the Ministry of Public Works and Transport to amend the sub-decree, which shall allow for their involvement.
“We found that the Ministry of Public Works and Transport has put the roadside weighing scales on some national and provincial roads to prevent overloaded vehicles from damaging road pavements.
“However, some overloaded vehicles in the past have avoided the scales by using the rural roads, leading to their damage. Therefore, the ministry thinks it should have jurisdiction in resolving the issue,” said Mr Darong.
He added that the two ministries will also collaborate to amend the sub-decree on the management of sidewalks along national roads and railways, and organise a masterplan to better develop road infrastructures in a bid to improve transportation.
Ek Roth, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport Undersecretary of state and Overload Control Committee deputy chairman, said the proposed amendment would still be deliberated upon by the ministry’s senior officials.
“The working group will discuss the request and wait for the decision of the ministry leaders. We would need more time to work on it,” he said.
Mr Roth said the ministry’s mobile team has also taken action to prevent overloaded vehicles from bypassing the scales.
Coalition for Integrity and Social Accountability coordinator Him Yun expressed support for the collaboration, which shall maintain the quality of national, provincial and rural roads.
However, he also urged a broader cooperation with village and commune authorities to strengthen its implementation.
“If the work is only carried out at the ministerial level, I don’t think it will work effectively. It will require the participation of local authorities, including the proper and transparent monitoring of documents, for the work to be effective as they have a more direct and immediate access to the roads,” he said.
According to a report from the Ministry of Rural Development, as of last year, the Kingdom has a total of 46,150km rural roads. Of these, 2,400km are paved and concrete, equivalent to 3.5 percent.
The ministry, the report said will continue to promote the development of rural roads in order to meet the needs of the rural population in line with the national economic growth.