Bandengqiao likely site for new Beichuan

By Hu Yinan and Zhang Haizhou (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-06-12 08:09

ANXIAN COUNTY, Sichuan: A new site is said to have been chosen for Beichuan county's administration, devastated by the May 12 earthquake and the overflow on Tuesday from the Tangjiashan "quake lake".

This photo, taken on Tuesday, shows Beichuan after the controlled draining of the Tangjiashan quake lake. [China Daily]

Experts have submitted a plan to the State Council, local source said.

Bandengqiao, in Changle village of Anxian county to the northwest of Mianyang and about 35 km from Qushan township, is said to be the new site, the sources said.

"Our village meets every criteria as Beichuan's new home," Changle Party chief, Rong Changhong told China Daily.

"It is far from the earthquake belt and any major mountain. It is located close to the Anchang River (the second-largest body of water that runs through Mianyang)."

A view of Bandengqiao, a possible sit for the new Beichuan. [China Daily]

Village director, Zhu Shiyou, said: "We're a model village of Anxian county and the richest in all of Huangtu township - I guess that also helped (in the selection)."

With a registered population of about 2,500, the economy in Changle, a low-lying 5 sq km flatland, relies on farming, cattle breeding, and people who work outside the village.

The place remained relatively intact from the earthquake last month. Six people were killed and only a few houses destroyed.

When plans for reconstruction are confirmed, the village will have to accommodate 30,000 people, as well as Beichuan's unique Qiang culture, to which it is no stranger.

Bandengqiao itself is the home of the Qiang ethnic group, and this will make it easier for Beichuan's large Qiang population to adapt, Li Xiaojiang, head of the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design, said. He is member of the team that recommended the place.

Beichuan, an autonomous county, is situated among hills 500 to 1,000 m high. More than 8,600 of its 13,000 residents were confirmed dead in the quake. About 70 percent of its buildings were also destroyed, making it impossible to rebuild the county.

Although no further details are available, Li said reconstruction will take three years after the plan's approval.

Beichuan officials welcomed the news at its temporary county government, now in the five-story Tianlong Hotel in Anxian's Anchang Township.

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