The defence force has been told to work with the public security force to maintain security along the Laos-China Railway to ensure smooth operation of the travel route, the Army Newspaper reported.
Addressing a meeting in Luang Prabang city on February 14, which reviewed security along the railway during its construction from 2016-2021 and discussed the plan for 2022-2026, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence General Chansamone Chanyalath told central and local forces to work together closely to ensure safety along the railway.
During construction, there were several reports of railway components being stolen, which triggered safety concerns on the part of the railway developer and the government.
The stolen components included steel joints and rail bolts used to assemble the track on the 426km railway.
Authorities have called on local residents to be vigilant and report any suspected incidents of theft. In addition, scrap metal dealers have been warned to be cautious when it comes to buying metal items.
Thanks to the assistance of security forces, construction of the $5.986 billion rail line, which began in December 2016, was completed on time and enabled the railway to come into service in December 2021.
Chansamone praised the security forces for their previous contribution to the success of the railway project.
He called for further engagement by security forces to ensure security in regard to the operation of the railway in the years to come. To this end, he told local and central security forces to work hand in hand and pay great attention to protecting and maintaining security along the rail route.
During the meeting, Chansamone, on behalf of the government, awarded departments and individuals in recognition of their contribution to the project.
The railway, which connects Vientiane with the Chinese border, has become an important transport route and has risen in popularity for both passengers and freight transport due to the lower costs and faster travel time compared to road transport.
Recent data suggests that since the railway opened for service at the beginning of December, more than 113,800 people have taken train trips. Each day at least 1,700 people make trips, while on some days the number has exceeded 2,800.
Passengers have generated more than $1.9 million in revenue.
In addition, the railway has carried more than 139,000 tonnes of freight, generating revenue of more than $7.5 million.
The railway, which is part of the China-initiated Belt and Road Initiative, has bolstered the Lao government’s effort to transform Laos from being landlocked into a land-link country.
VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK