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Three Gorges Resettlement Project to Complete on Schedule

The second stage of a project to resettle residents of China's Three Gorges reservoir-area will be finished by 2003 as scheduled, a Chinese official said in Beijing Wednesday.

By the end of August, 253,200 people from the area had been relocated, involving a total investment of 17.695 billion yuan (US$2.13 billion), according to Guo Shuyan, deputy head of China's State Council Three Gorges Project Construction Committee, at a press conference held here today.

The resident resettlement work is an integrated part of the Three Gorges Project, which, after completion, will flood an area of 632 square kilometers and affect 847,500 residents.

Guo said that the resettlement project comprises of three stages: 1993 to 1997 as the first stage, 1998 to 2003 the second and 2003 to 2009 the third.

According to Guo, the second stage plays a key role in the relocation, for it will directly indicate whether the Three Gorges Project may retain water, generate electricity and allow ships to pass through on time.

To fulfill the targets, Hubei Province and Chongqing Municipality have rescheduled their original plan by increasing the number of people to be moved from 83,000 to 125,000.

The State Council has decided to relocate the 70,000 rural residents in the reservoir area to 11 provinces and municipalities nearby and along the Yangtze River as well as in coastal regions. The work started on a trial basis this year, and will be completed in 2003.

Guo said that the enterprises to be removed will be restructured, and those which caused heavy pollution or are heavily indebted will be closed down.

For this reason, Hubei and Chongqing will shut down 1,013 enterprises of the 1,599 enterprises to be moved.

By the end of September, the investment in the Three Gorges Project has totaled 55.378 billion yuan (US$6.67 billion), he said.

(Xinhua 10/26/2000)

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