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1.2 Mln Km Rural Roads to Be Built
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China will build or rebuild 1.2 million kilometers of rural roads in the coming five years to connect 95 percent of towns and 80 percent of villages in the country, according to the Ministry of Communications.

At a national video conference on rural road construction held on Monday, Minister Li Shenglin urged local transportation department to put more effort and investment in this aspect.

The ministry planed to build 300,000 km more rural roads over the figure in 2005 in the coming five years, which means that by the year 2010, China will have 1.8 million km of rural roads.

The new roads will be mainly built in old revolutionary bases, border areas, poor areas and major grain producing areas.

According to the ministry's plan, all administrative villages in China will be connected by highways at the end of 2010.

In the past five years, or the period of the country's tenth Five Year Program, China had invested 417.8 billion yuan in rural road construction, three times that in the previous five years.

The ministry's statistics show China has 630,000 kilometers of rural highways, one time more than the total mileage it built in the 53 years since new China was founded in 1949.

However, roads in many rural areas are still very bad, and building highways for all China's villages is difficult, and it needs money, technology and support from local governments.

At present, more than 300,000 villages have not been linked by pitch or cement roads, and about 40,000 villages even do not have paved roads.

Local transportation departments should give favorable policies and financial support to rural highway construction, Li said.

Along with a national highway network, the ministry plans to build a bus network in rural areas so that farmers can easily go outside their hometowns.

(Xinhua News Agency February 8, 2006)

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