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Better life pledged for Three Gorges migrants
( 2003-11-29 13:42) (Xinhua)

Residents who have to leave their hometowns and resettle elsewhere because of the construction of the Three Gorges Project, a gigantic water control facility now being built on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, are promised greater efforts for more money, more jobs and better life.

Huang Zhendong, secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said economic development would be the focus of the resident-relocating work in the new period which began in June this year.

The Three Gorges Project, which started construction in 1993, is designed to have 26 generators with each having a capacity of 700,000 kilowatts, and will be able to generate 84.7 billion kilowatt hours a year on completion.

Because of the construction of the Three Gorges Project, 1.13 million residents will need to be relocated to other areas, of whom, 1.03 million are from Chongqing, the most important industrial city on the upper reaches of the Yangtze, China's longest river.

By March this year, 724,000 migrants had resettled in Chongqing, Hubei Province, or in economically-developed areas outside the two regions.

Huang pledged that greater painstaking efforts would be made to develop tourism based on inland rivers, specialized industries such as energy, food processing business, service for processing modernized traditional Chinese medicine and biological pharmaceuticals, and advance industries related to production of quality farm produce, as well as shipping service and logistics.

Mayor Wang Hongju also vowed to vigorously expand labor service. "It will take some time to cultivate new industries, but development of labor service-based economy will produce immediate effects in offering more jobs to migrants and raising income," said Mayor Wang.

Chongqing, which used to fall under the jurisdiction of southwest China's Sichuan Province, became a municipality of its own right in 1997.

Rural labor income in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area has been growing at a rate of over 10 percent, according to the mayor.

Per capita income for farmers in Chongqing, now the country's largest municipality by population, via labor service was 783 yuan (about US$94 ) last year, accounting for 45 percent of the per capita net income for farmers in the same year, said Mayor Wang.

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