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Power, water supply assured in Lhasa after riot
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The power and water is now back to normal in Lhasa, Tibet, as the city returns to order after Friday's riot that resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians, looted shops and burnt houses.

Most of the damaged power facilities, including two branch boxes near the Jokhang Temple, had been repaired by Thursday and the grid was in stable operation, said sources with the Lhasa Electric Power Administration.

The boxes were burnt by the rioting mob, leading to power cuts for the Lhasa Fire Control Brigade, the Lhasa Department Store and government offices, among others.

A provisional client service center for electricity has been set up after the city's only center was destroyed.

Transformer substations were currently under the protection of power company staff, a Tibet Power Company said.

Meanwhile, some gas stations have also reopened to public. A worker at the Zhongti filling station said his work place resumed operation on Tuesday afternoon and had received more customers than on normal days.

In stations that remained closed there are signs showing people where they could get fuel.

Lhasa Water Company employees are on duty around the clock to protect their source and water pumps from sabotage. Armed police have been sent in for support.

Rumors of poisoned drinking water began to spread hours after the unrest. However, officials dismissed the rumor immediately, saying tests performed by the water company and regional disease control and prevention center experts showed the supply was safe.

Train services have also returned to normal. "I had worried that train tickets were difficult to get, but it has not proved to be the case," said local resident Sonam in front of the Lhasa Railway Station.

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway is operating on schedule and passengers could easily buy tickets to major cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, according to Jia Nailin, the station's deputy head.

In recent days, more than 2,000 people arrived at the station each day and the departure numbers stood at more than 1,000 people, Jia said. Security has also been beefed up at the station.

(Xinhua News Agency March 20, 2008)

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