The government of China's Tibet Autonomous Region plans to allocate 465 million yuan (62 million US dollars) for low-cost housing starting this year to improve living standards, especially for low-income households.
The money will be used to build 4,560 houses, which are to be completed by the end of this year, with floor space totaling 200,000 square meters, said Chen Jin, head of the Tibet construction department.
"Increasing investment in real estate has given people varied choices, such as low-rent houses, apartments, condos and townhouses," Chen said.
The per capita housing space for urban residents stands at 25.5 sq m. The area for farmers and herdsmen has reached 36.4 sq m, compared with 16.8 sq m before 2006, according to statistics from the department.
In a neighborhood in the northern part of Lhasa, Gaesang Namgyae, a company employee, lives with his family in a 160-square-meter two-story house. "My problem is, cleaning the 11 rooms is really tiring," he said.
In the county of Gongbo'Gyamda, Nyingchi, the local authority is carrying out a project to build brick houses for farmers and herdsmen who now live in rundown wood-and-earth structures.
Tibet plans to provide housing for 52,000 farmers and herders this year, as part of a project that began in 2006 to build homes for 220,000 households. The project, once finished, would mean housing for 80 percent of the region's farmers and herders by the end of 2010, Chen said.
Since 2006, the regional government has invested 6.6 billion yuan in the housing project, which benefited 570,000 farmers and herders from 112,000 households.
This year, the government will earmark 676.5 million yuan to help 52,000 farming and herding households move into brick houses or settle down from their nomadic existence.
(Xinhua News Agency March 22, 2008)