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Assistance extended for gorges regions

Updated: Aug 27,2014 1:26 PM     Xinhua

National economic assistance for regions affected by the Three Gorges Dam is to be extended during the next six years, the State Council said on Aug 26.

Assistance for job creation and economic development will be enhanced in more than 20 counties in Chongqing and Hubei province from this year until 2020.

Details of the initiative are set out in a plan that has received government approval.

The core purpose of the assistance is to improve the development capabilities of regions affected by the Three Gorges project, according to the plan.

Assistance should be targeted at boosting competitive sectors, supporting relocated communities, alleviating rural poverty, enhancing public services, job training and ecological protection.

Five aspects will be prioritized: industrial support for agriculture, tourism, commerce, logistics and cooperative manufacturing; infrastructure in rural regions; public services such as basic education, vocational training, medicine and hygiene; job training and employment programs; and environmental protection.

The plan document says the national economic assistance policy has helped ensure the progress of the Three Gorges project since 1992, bringing improved local infrastructure and livelihoods for residents.

The Three Gorges project consists of a 2,309-meter-long, 185-meter-high dam, a five-tier ship lock and 26 hydropower generators.

Construction plans were passed by the National People’s Congress in 1992. Construction, which cost more than 200 billion yuan ($32.5 billion), began two years later.

About 1.3 million people were relocated to make way for the dam.

After nine years of construction, the first generator started to produce power in July 2003. The last generator became operational in July 2013.

The project had generated 712 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity by the end of 2013.