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39,000 aging residential communities in nation set for renovation

By Hou Liqiang | | Updated: 2020-04-16 19:56
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Workers examine and repair electric wiring in an old residential community in Beijing, on April 14, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

The country plans to renovate 39,000 aging urban residential communities across the country this year and will make efforts to make up the shortcomings exposed by COVID-19 control work during the renovation, according to the country's top housing authority.

The work will benefit about 7 million households, said Vice-Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development Huang Yan in a news conference organized by the State Council Information Office on Thursday.

Construction projects launched before the Spring Festival Holiday have been resuming in an orderly manner in all residential blocks except those still under lockdown management, she said.

For projects to be launched, preparation work has been started to solicit residents' opinions and draft renovation planning, Huang added.

While the epidemic has exerted some negative effects on the process of some projects, she said some issues also have been exposed in these old communities as local authorities rolled out epidemic control work.

Some of the communities lack facilities needed for epidemic prevention and control. As one of the measures to curb the spread the epidemic in many regions, deliverymen were not allowed to enter communities. There are, however, no available sites in many communities to temporarily place residents' parcels, she noted.

She said the ministry has included suggestions to solve such problems in a guideline it is drafting for promoting this year's renovation work.

In March last year, Premier Li Keqiang said in the Government Work Report that authorities would support the renovation of old urban residential communities across the country.

On June 19 of the same year, Li presided over an executive meeting of the State Council - China's cabinet - that called for the work to be accelerated.

Renovations would prioritize upgrading roads, water supplies, electricity, gas and internet services. In communities where conditions permit, elevators will be installed and parking lots built, according to a release from the meeting.

In 2019, the country had managed to renovate 19,000 aging residential communities across the country, which involved about 3.5 million households, according to the ministry.

Huang noted in a news brief last year that local governments had reported 170,000 urban communities that need renovation by the end of May 2019.

The ministry has yet calculated the total investment needed in renovating all the country's old communities, but the renovation will be subsidized by the central government, and residents and companies involved also will contribute their share, she said.

State Council Counselor Qiu Baoxing estimated, however, total funds needed for the comprehensive project could reach 4 trillion yuan ($565 billion).

In a signed article published by the official website of the State Council in 2019, Qiu, also former vice-minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, suggested making good use of the 500 billion yuan allocated for the public housing maintenance fund in government accounts.

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