President Hu urges drought relief in rural areas

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President Hu Jintao has urged local government officials to treat drought relief in rural areas as an "urgent task" as he wraps up a four-day inspection tour in central China's Hubei Province Friday.

Chinese president Hu Jintao (L, front) talks with poverty-stricken workers in an aid center of Qingshan District of Wuhan City, capital of Hubei province, during his trip to the province from May 31 to June 3, 2011. [Photo: Xinhua] 

Hu's call comes in the midst of the worst drought in 60 years that hit the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. These areas are China's important agricultural production bases.

Hu asked government officials to provide fiscal and technological support to farmers and work to ensure they have enough drinking water.

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Efforts should be made to give full play to the role of reservoirs in offsetting the impact of the drought, Hu stressed when visiting the Danjiangkou Reservoir, which is part of China's massive south-to-north water diversion project.

In a tech-zone of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province, Hu urged enterprises to embrace scientific innovation and promote the development of China's strategic emerging industries.

Institutional and technological innovation is an important impetus to foster state enterprises' competitive edge, Hu said during his inspection at a local heavy machine tool manufacturer.

Efforts are needed to make more technological breakthroughs and improve the quality of home-made automobiles, he said when visiting a local auto maker.

Hu spoke highly of energy-saving and environmental-friendly production modes and lifestyle after trying one of Wuhan's free bike services.

The city cluster with Wuhan at the center should optimize its industrial structure and offer useful experience in building an environment-friendly society, said the president.

The city cluster has been designated by the central government as a trial zone to promote energy-saving and environmental-friendly programs.

During his four-day visit to the province, Hu also visited labor union's service centers as well as urban community clinics.

Hu called for persistent efforts to improve the living standards of needy workers and make medical and health services accessible to residents.

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