A draft plan for the reconstruction of the seat of Beichuan County, the worst hit area in the 8.0-magnitude May 12 earthquake,is now open for public comment.
The new seat of the Beichuan county will be located in Huangtu township in neighboring Anxian county, the draft plan shows.
The first phase of construction includes public welfare facilities, government headquarters and housing. It will cost 19.32 billion yuan (US$2.84 billion).
The seat of the Beichuan county government was severely damaged in the quake. Officials decided not to rebuild in the area because it is close to a fault line. Instead the county's seat will be relocated.
According to the draft plan, it will be located near four villages -- Shunyi, Dongyu, Hongqi and Wenquan.
The size of the new county seat will be limited to 10 square kilometers.
When contacted by the press Tuesday, Wang Yuliang, chief of the construction and planning bureau of the Beichuan County Government, said the draft plan has already been submitted to the State Council for approval.
There's no word on how long that could take or how long the public comment period will be open.
Li Huagang, who is in charge of supporting reconstruction efforts from Shandong Province, disclosed Tuesday, the draft plan is expected to be finalized and published next February.
In accordance with the draft, the new Beichuan county seat will be constructed in several stages. The core area will have a population of 61,000.
The earthquake, centered in Sichuan's Wenchuan County, left more than 69,000 people dead and 374,000 injured. Another 18,000 are missing and millions were left homeless.
Beichuan, a mountainous area in the northern Sichuan Province, southwest China, is the ancestral home of a Chinese ethnic group of people known as Qiang.
The Qiang people have a unique culture which can be traced to the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC-1046 BC). They have their own language, cuisine, wine, festivals, clothes, songs and dances. All face extinction as their homes were in the worst hit parts of the quake zone.
(Xinhua News Agency December 3, 2008)