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Three-year rebuilding plan approved for quake areas
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The Chinese government has approved a plan to restore normal life and production over the next three years in the areas devastated by the May 12 earthquake.

The State Council approved the general plan in principle at a meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao and attended by executive members of the Cabinet on Wednesday.

The National Development and Reform Commission had prepared and revised the plan after seeking public opinions.

The general plan was designed as the basis for reconstruction and for accelerating economic and social development, the meeting heard.

It stipulates that basic living conditions and economic and social development will be restored to pre-quake levels or higher.

The plan sets principles for rebuilding urban and rural areas, restoring industries and relocating the populations in these areas.

It sets clear requirements and policies on construction of houses.

The reconstruction will be integrated with urban and rural reforms as well as rural development and poverty-elimination programs, by rebuilding facilities for production and housing in rural areas and building up production bases for grain, edible oil and commercial crops.

Public education, science and research, medical service, culture and sports, natural heritage, employment, and social security facilities will be rebuilt in accordance with the planning and populations.

Communications, telecommunications, energy and water infrastructure will be restored in accordance with geological and geographical conditions and the requirements for economic and social development.

Some companies will be rebuilt on their original sites and encouraged to develop industries with local specialties and advantages, while others would be relocated or closed.

The general plan is aimed at strengthening disaster contingency planning and promoting the coordinated development of population, resources and environment.

The earthquake left more than 69,000 dead, almost 18,000 missing and millions of people homeless.

(Xinhua News Agency August 28, 2008)

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