Delayed project puts ceramic capital under flood threat
Updated: 2011-07-19 12:31
By Gao Qihui (chinadaily.com.cn)
After 10 years and spending 70 percent of the budget, a flood-control dike project in Jingdezhen city, the world-famous ceramic capital of East China’s Jiangxi province, is not even half complete, sparking public doubt, Beijing News reported on Tuesday.
A house damaged by a flood in 2010 leans against another one in Jingdezhen city, East China's Jiangxi province, July 7, 2011. [Photo/Xinhua]]
The city government decided to build a flood-control dike after a catastrophic flood inundated the city in 1998. The project was started in 2002 and had a five-year budget of 358 million yuan ($55.34 million). It was to be more than 20 kilometers.
The project has received 300 million yuan and spent 260 million yuan, but only 9.8 kilometers have been built, less than 50 percent of the project. About 5,000 citizens are constantly exposed to the hazards of flooding due to the unfinished dike. Some parts of the city are inundated by floodwater almost every year.
The local water affairs bureau said the increasing cost of labor and materials is making the expense of the project surpass the planned budget and the project was delayed by local residents affected by the project, as the compensation for resettlement was deemed too low.
However, the original compensation standard was not low. According to the city's real estate management bureau, the compensation standard was set at a level of 500 yuan per square meter in 2003, while the average housing price of the affected area was just 800 yuan per square meter in 2005.
Some citizens believed that the delays in this project can be attributed to the government's overspending on image projects such as the scene-viewing construction and lighting program.
The cost of each kilometer's dike in the current project is as high as 26 million yuan, while the cost of a dike with a much higher standard in Jiujiang, another, bigger city in Jiangxi province, is only 20 million yuan per kilometer.
The relevant department of Jingdezhen city said the dike needs another 400 million yuan to finish it, which would bring the total investment to 700 million yuan, almost twice the original budget of 358 million yuan.
To solve the capital problem, the relevant department plans to ask for investment from the central government.