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Environmentally-friendly eco-city to be built in Xinjiang
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The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is making preparations to build an environmental friendly eco-city in Beitun Town of Aletai, www.tianshannet.com reported on May 12.

According to the plan, the new eco-city, with distinctive environmental features, will be built over a period of several years, ultimately becoming a political, economic and cultural center that will replace Aletai as the area's capital.

A file photo of Aletai area in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region [travelguide.sunnychina.com]

A file photo of Aletai area in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region

Aletai is situated in a long and narrow mountain area, 50 kilometers from the future eco-city. Enjoying a pleasant climate which is temperate in winter and cool in summer, it has been the political center of the area since the Qing Dynasty.

However, following rapid economic and social development in recent years, the beautiful mountain city can no longer meet the demands placed on it as a capital with jurisdiction over six counties and one city.

The Beitun New Area under construction is located on the north bank of the E'erqisi River, one of the main waterways in Xinjiang. The area is flat and spacious with dense forests, and is only 40 kilometers from Aletai Airport. State-level and provincial-level highways will extend in all directions by late next year.

Liu Yi, an official from the Beitun New Area Construction Headquarter, said that an overall urban design has been completed. “The construction of main roads and a water supply system will be started in June. Central district infrastructural construction will be completed by the end of 2010."

The Aletai administrative headquarters will then be moved there, Liu added.

Liu explained that the new area will be divided into “one garden and two districts", covering an area of 15 square kilometers with an initial population of 100,000, rising to 50 square kilometers and 500,000 people in the long term.

The architectural style will combine influences from northern Europe and from the Kazak nationality, said Liu. “The area will be converted into an environmentally-friendly, energy-saving eco-city with forest cover exceeding 60 percent. The highest building will not exceed four stories with a low density distribution."

Currently, the regional government has allocated 400 million yuan (US$958.64 million) for construction. The Aletai local government has raised another 600 million yuan (US$87.95 million) by itself and applied for a bank loan of 1 billion yuan (US$146.58 million). The area is also seeking other sources of finance to guarantee funding for the project.

Aletai, rich in natural resources, has become one of the country's major nonferrous metal development bases, said Ye Lin, an official from the area's administrative department.

“In the process of building the new area, the local government will have its eye on the rich mineral resources of the Altai Mountains in Central Asia, and will try to build a mineral resource development center of expertise."

(China.org.cn by Li Jingrong, May 13, 2009)

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