China to spend US$362m on project migrants
The Chinese government plans to invest over three billion yuan (US$362 million) to help migrants in 10 years starting this year, said the Three Gorges Project Construction Committee Friday.
The money will be used to improve the facilities in migrants' new residency areas, develop local agriculture, provide them technical training and give allowances to needy migrant families, said Qi Lin, an official with the committee.
The investment this year will reach 200 million yuan (US$24 million), Qi said.
Construction of the Three Gorges Project, the country's largest water conservancy project, started in 1993 and will finish by 2009.
The water level of the reservoir will raise by four steps from 82.28 meters to 135, to 156 and finally to 175 when many local residents will see their houses and farm land submerged by rising water.
More than 840,000 residents will move to new houses before the whole project is completed.
Among those who have moved out, half said their life had improved and 30 percent made a good living, while 20 percent faced difficulties in adapting to a new situation, Qi said.
Of the 20 percent, 5 percent need government assistance, he added.
The migrants mostly lived in 20 counties in Chongqing Municipality and Hubei Province. Some will move to neighboring regions in Chongqing and Hubei and the others will move to other provinces such as Hunan and Guangdong as well as Shanghai.
A group of 25,300 local residents will migrate out of reservoir area before the end of August, Qi said.
The migrants included 23,400 people from seven counties in Chongqing and 1,900 from Hubei Province. Their residences and farms will be flooded when the water level of the reservoir rises to 156 meters after the third-phase construction.
Now that the identity check on migrants was finished by March, construction of their new residence should be finished and farmland for them be ready by June, Qi said.
Concerned governments at all levels are required to make every effort to ensure all the migrants settle down before the new semester of primary and middle schools begins in September, he added.
Those who are found responsible for the poor quality of the new settlements or graft of money for the construction of the settlements will be punished according law.
Some 140,000 people have moved to other provinces since 2000.