Premier Wen Jiabao has urged all departments concerned to ensure a safe and smooth transportation during the traditional Chinese New Year holidays so that the people would enjoy a happy, peaceful and harmonious festival season.
Wen visited a service zone of an expressway and a railway station in Beijing on Friday and inspected the traffic situation before and during the Spring Festival holidays, the busiest travel season in the country.
The Spring Festival traffic season is 20 days ahead and 20 days after the Chinese Lunar New Year, which falls on February 7 this year. All kinds of traffic tools will be busy with shipping homebound passengers and food and major industrial goods like coal used for power plants.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao(R) talks with a truck driver at the Zhuozhou service station of the Beijing-Shijiazhuang Expressway, in north China's Hebei Province, Jan. 25, 2008. Wen Jiabao inspected the Zhuozhou Service Station of the Beijing-Shijiazhuang expressway and Beijing's West Railway Station on Friday. (Xinhua Photo)
Since January 12, rare snowfalls, the heaviest in decades for some central and southern provinces have further worsened the traffic tension in the country. Many expressways and airports have been closed, forcing many passengers to choose railways as their option.
During his visits, Wen had talks with some truck drivers, passengers and staff of the Zhuozhou Service Zone of the Beijing-Shijiazhuang Expressway, 60 kilometers southwest of the national capital, and the Beijing West Railway Station, one of the most bustling traffic hubs in the country.
The premier, who is also member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Political Bureau, thanked the drivers and highway and railway workers for their hard work during the season.
The State Council has decided to exempt all the tolls for vegetable-loading trucks when they go by the "Green Channel" highways linking to major cities, to curb market fluctuation, he said.
The Beijing West Railway Station, which is expected to see 22 million outgoing and incoming passengers during the Spring Festival transportation season, has opened 266 ticket windows.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao(R) talks with passengers in a lounge room at Beijing's West Railway Station on Jan. 25, 2008. Wen Jiabao inspected the Zhuozhou Service Station of the Beijing-Shijiazhuang expressway and Beijing's West Railway Station on Friday. (Xinhua Photo)
The premier shook hands and talked with some passengers at waiting rooms in the railway station.
The Ministry of Railways recently estimated that railway passengers are likely to reach 178.6 million between January 23 and March 2. Migrant workers account for 70 percent of the railway passengers.
Wen had a meeting with some officials from the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Communications and the Ministry of Railways, and urged these departments to ensure traffic safety for the railways, highways, aviation and waterways,
The premier also called for joint efforts by different departments to ensure the production, storage and transportation of coal for thermal power plants, so as to guarantee electricity supply for residents as well as important units, hospitals and schools.
(Xinhua News Agency January 27, 2008)