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Cities strengthen safety measures at subway sites
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Major cities, including Beijing and Guangzhou, have strengthened safety measures after the subway tunnel collapse in Hangzhou on Saturday in which seven people died.

Authorities in Beijing, where seven urban railway lines are being built, have vowed to intensify checks on all construction sites.

They have promised to install close-circuit TV cameras, too, to monitor the sites round the clock, the Beijing Youth Daily reported. Wu Hongjian, general manager of the Beijing Railway Construction and Management Co, said cameras would be installed at all the construction sites of the seven lines under construction.

In Guangzhou, where seven subway projects are under construction, a team of 120 officials began daily patrols of more than 200 sites from yesterday, the Nanfang Daily said.

Each subway project has formed a six-person team to monitor the sites deemed most at risk, a manager who did not want to be named said.

Authorities in Nanjing and Xi'an have also promised to intensify safety measures at subway construction sites, local media reported.

Experts said the Hangzhou tunnel collapse should serve as a warning to officials engaged in metro expansion projects across the country.

Miao Yanying, of the subway and metro railway research center under the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, said: "The accident in Hangzhou is unlikely to make cities with subway plans slow their pace, but it should make them realize that safety has to be the top concern."

According to a recent report of the Development Research Center of the State Council, proper safety measures have long been lacking in China's large-scale subway projects.

During the construction phase, the local government project team is responsible for all safety aspects, and independent experts do not conduct quality examinations until the work is complete, the report said.

(China Daily November 18, 2008)

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