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Quake reconstruction ahead of schedule: China

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A CLASS OF ITS OWN: Pupils attend a class at a primary school in Chongyi Town of Dujiangyan City, Sichuan Province, on Saturday. The school, reconstructed after the deadly May 12 earthquake last year, can withstand quake upto a magnitude of 8.0.
A CLASS OF ITS OWN: Pupils attend a class at a primary school in Chongyi Town of Dujiangyan City, Sichuan Province, on Saturday. The school, reconstructed after the deadly May 12 earthquake last year, can withstand quake upto a magnitude of 8.0.

Chen Yongrong and Chen Yinan

BEIJING: China has invested 360 billion yuan (about $52.7 billion) in post-earthquake reconstruction as of April, one-third of the planned total, and hopes to complete all work within two years, a government official has said.

According to Mu Hong, vice-director of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, most rebuilding of basic housing and infrastructure had begun and shown considerable progress.

The government planned to complete reconstruction before September 2010, after starting in September last. The target was one year earlier than previously expected.

“Reconstruction work has got off to a good start, as one-third of the plan has been completed in one-fourth of the scheduled time,” he said.

The planned investment totalled about 1 trillion yuan and covered more than 2,00,000 projects.

It included 300 billion yuan of direct investment from the central government, of which 154 billion yuan had been already been spent, said Mr. Mu.

With sufficient funding, essential infrastructure such as railroads, highways and airports could be completed and the facilities returned to service, he said.

Up to 95.7 per cent of the reconstruction for rural houses had started, 76.6 percent of which had been finished, according to Mu.

Tang Kai, director of the urban planning department of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, said rural residents in Sichuan Province’s quake zone would be back in permanent houses by this winter.

Urban residents would be in new homes before September 2010, as 48.9 per cent of houses had been reinforced and reconstruction of 40.1 per cent of the destroyed houses had begun, with 8.9 per cent finished.

He said 98 per cent of the factories and 95 per cent of the shops had re-opened.

Schools had also been a focus of the rebuilding, as 70 per cent of the students were back in permanent schools, and the government vowed to have all students in permanent schools by next spring, according to Mr. Mu.

The government had tightened supervision of the use of reconstruction funds, and so far there had been no report of misuse, he said. The government would also tighten supervision of construction quality.

The National Audit Office (NAO) had conducted audits of more than 1,500 projects as of March 31, covering nearly 50 billion yuan.

The magnitude 8.0 quake that hit Sichuan and other parts of southwest China last May 12 killed more than 69,000 people.

It also left nearly 18,000 missing, more than 3,74,000 injured and millions homeless. — Xinhua


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