At least 4 million people from the Three Gorges Reservoir area
are to be relocated to cities in the next 10 to 15 years, according
to Chongqing Municipality Vice Mayor Yu
Under the 2007-2020 Chongqing rural and urban development plan,
approved by the State Council on Sep. 20, resettlements are deemed
necessary to protect the ecology of the reservoir area, said
The country's most populous municipality is set for vigorous
More than 4 million people currently living in northeast and
southwest Chongqing, where the Three Gorges Reservoir extends for
600 km, would be encouraged to resettle on the urban outskirts,
about an hour's bus ride from downtown Chongqing, according to a
report on sina.com.
No details about the massive relocation are currently available,
but Yu said that the ecological safety of the Three Gorges
Reservoir area was at risk from the growing population.
"On one hand, the reservoir area has a vulnerable ecological
environment, and natural conditions make large scale urbanization
or serious overpopulation impossible here," said the official.
On the other hand, Yu said, the area was already suffering from
overpopulation and poor conditions from industrial development.
In March 1997, the city, which sits on the upper reaches of the
Yangtze River, was approved as a centrally administered
municipality, the fourth after Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin. It
was expected to spearhead economic development in China's central
and western regions.
Covering 82,000 square kilometers, the municipality has a
population of more than 27.98 million, with 55 percent living in
The city's gross domestic product reached 348.6 billion yuan
(US$45.8 billion) in 2006. However, its growth has been seriously
unbalanced. The per capita GDP of Wuxi County was 3,593 yuan last
year, only a tenth of that in the developed Yuzhong District.
On June 7, Chongqing and Chengdu, capital of neighboring Sichuan
Province, were selected by the National Development and Reform
Commission, the country's top economic planner, as pilot cities to
work towards coordinated and balanced development between urban and
Planners estimate that Chongqing will have a population of 30
million, 16.15 million in urban areas, with an urbanization rate of
53.8 percent by 2010. The urban population will reach 21.6 million
of the city's total population of 31 million by 2020, signifying an
urbanization rate of 70 percent.
Last month, officials and experts admitted that the Three Gorges
Dam project had caused an array of ecological ills, including more
frequent landslides and pollution, and if preventive measures are
not taken, it could lead to an environmental "catastrophe".
Tan Qiwei, vice mayor of Chongqing, told a forum in Wuhan, that
the shore of the reservoir had collapsed in 91 places and a total
of 36 km had caved in.
Frequent geological disasters have threatened the lives of
residents around the reservoir area, said Huang Xuebin, head of the
Headquarters for Prevention and Control of Geological Disasters in
the Three Gorges Reservoir.
Construction of the project has already necessitated the
resettlement of at least 1.2 million people.
The dam, the world's largest water control facility, was
launched in 1993, with a budget of 180 billion yuan (US$22.5
Located on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, the project
comprises a 185-meter-high dam, completed in early 2006, a
five-tier ship lock, and the reservoir.
(Xinhua News Agency October 12, 2007)