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China plans bigger transport ministry managing road, water and air routes
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China on Tuesday announced a plan to organize a new transport ministry that is big enough to cover road, water and air transit, but still not that strong to incorporate railways.

A government reshuffle plan announced by State Councilor Hua Jianmin to a parliament session said the new department under the State Council, or the cabinet, will incorporate the current Ministry of Communications, the Civil Aviation Administration of China and the section of urban traffic management under the Ministry of Construction.

The "super" ministry will also take over the State Post Bureau from the Ministry of Information Industry, Hua said, when making an explanation on the cabinet reshuffle plan to nearly 3,000 deputies to the National People's Congress, the top legislature.

The reorganization is aimed at establishing a "convenient, smooth, efficient, safe and integrated traffic system", Hua, also secretary general of the cabinet, said.

The new ministry is responsible for the making of layouts, policies and standards of the development of highways, waterways and civil aviation, he said.

A state bureau of civil aviation will be set up under the new ministry, he said.

The Ministry of Railways, which manages more than 77,000 km of railroads, will be kept because of "the special needs in building and managing railways," said Hua without elaboration.

China now has 3.57 million km of roads, linking 88 percent villages and 98.5 percent rural towns.

Medog in the southeastern part of the Tibet Autonomous Region is the last county in China without a highway, and construction of one is scheduled this year.

Flights shuttle among 148 airports of 146 cities in the Chinese mainland. About 387.59 million passengers traveled by air last year.

And the country has 14 harbors whose annual throughput surpasses 100 million tonnes.

(Xinhua News Agency March 11, 2008)

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