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Qinghai-Tibet Railway Enters Hub County in Northern Tibet
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The Qinghai-Tibet Railway paved its way into Nagqu County, an important center in northern part of the Tibet Autonomous Region, on Saturday, ending the elevated area’s history without railway.


With an average altitude of 4,500 meters, Nagqu area is located among the Tanggula Range, Gangdise Range and Nyainqentanglha Range, all sacred mountains regarded as “insurmountable even by eagles” in the eyes of locals.


The area boasts 510 million Mu (34 million hectares) of grassland and over 7.7 million heads of livestock. With 387,000 population, it is well known as an important pasturing area, and 80 percent of the locals live on livestock farming.


“It’s been our long-cherished dream to have a railway in Nagqu County,” said Duan Xiangzheng, an official there. He said the railway will help promote local livestock farming industry and improve their living standards.


The Qinghai-Tibet Railway will wind through Nagqu area for 510 kilometers, connecting 11 townships and 11 freight or passenger stations.


Local governments in the Nagqu area have been working with experts to map out strategies on sustainable economic development and environmental protection in the areas along the railway.


Northern Tibet abounds in livestock products and mineral resources, which are expected to be worthy of 6,000 billion yuan (US$722 billion), about 60 percent of the total mineral value in Tibet.


“Construction of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway could not only improve local people’s income, but also help them obtain more labor techniques and modern technology,” said Duan.


Since the Qinghai-Tibet Railway broke ground three years ago, over 40,000 locals in Nagqu area have participated in the project and got 23 million yuan (US$2.77 million) of additional income.


The Qinghai-Tibet Railway entered Tibet at Amdo County last June and is expected to stretch for 443 kilometers before entering Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region.


Nearly half of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway has been completed, according to Shen Yubin, an engineer participating the construction project.


With an investment of 26.21 billion yuan (US$3.16 billion), China began the construction project in 2001, hoping the railway between Golmud City of Qinghai Province and Lhasa will serve as a bridge connecting the autonomous region isolated by its high altitude.


The Chinese government expects the project to put Tibet’s social and economic development on wheels and serve the strategy of developing the less-developed western regions, helping local residents improve their living standards.


The 1,142-kilometer Qinghai-Tibet Railway is scheduled to be completed in 2007.


(Xinhua News Agency October 10, 2004)

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