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Qinghai-Tibet Railway to be extended this year
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Tibet plans to invest 28 billion yuan (US$3.7 billion) in ten key construction projects this year, including an extension of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, said Qiangba Puncog, chairman of Tibet Autonomous Region.

A Tibetan washes his face beside the Lhasa river near the Lhasa railway bridge, July 1, 2006.

"Experts are still working on the designs and environmental assessments of the extension line and government officials have started calculating compensations to those who will lose their land and properties to the railway," said Qiangba Puncog.

The 254-km extension line, which links the two largest cities in Tibet - Lhasa and Xigaze - is the first feeder line for the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. Construction is expected to begin this year and be completed in 2010, at a cost of 11 billion yuan (US$1.42 billion).

Located in the southwestern region of Tibet, and bordering Nepal, Bhutan and India, Xigaze is 280 km southwest of Lhasa.

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway, running 1,956 kilometers from Xining city in Qinghai province to Lhasa in Tibet, was officially put into operation in July 2006. It is the highest railway in the world and ended Tibet's history without railway.

Nine other projects are also expected to start this year, including the Zangmu Hydropower Station on the Yarlung Zangbo River, the water control project in Pundo county and the renovation of the Sichuan-Tibet highway.

(Xinhua News Agency January 19, 2008)

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