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US$64.2 Mln Extra Cost of Three Gorges Project Found
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Improper settling of accounts and contract management have resulted in an extra 488 million yuan (US$64.2 million) to the total cost of the Three Gorges hydropower project, according to the National Audit Office (NAO) on Friday.

Most of the additional cost was increased by project construction contractors who exaggerated their expenditures, with only 5.4 million yuan being wasted by exploration mistakes, according to the NAO.

The office also found 20.4 hectares of land illegally used without governmental permission, while another 110 hectares approved for use have been idled for years.

To date, an area of 2.1 square kilometers, or one-third of the total suffering soil erosion in the project area, has not been harnessed, said the office.

Construction on the massive Three Gorges project began in 1993 and is scheduled to be completed in 2009.

(Xinhua News Agency June 29, 2007)

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