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State Council urges provinces to speed up slum upgrading

Wang Qingyun
Updated: Jul 21,2014 2:28 PM

The general office of the State Council issued a circular on July 21, asking the country’s provinces to speed up the slum upgrading process.

According to the circular, China overhauled slum areas involving more than 3.2 million households in 2013, and it plans to upgrade more than 4.7 million homes in slum areas in 2014.

But the country needs to strengthen its efforts in order to meet its goal of upgrading slum areas - which are home to 100 million people - by 2020, as decided by the CPC central committee in December 2013.

The circular requires that all provinces should aim to get a clear picture - including how many households are living in local slums and how large the slum areas are - and make the plans for the upgrading of the slums between 2015 to 2017 as soon as possible.

These plans should include upgrading slum areas where workers of State-owned companies and their families live, and should give priority to upgrading slum areas in cities that are running out of natural resources concerning their pillar industries - such as coal, oil and lumber.

The plans should also give priority to upgrading large slum areas that are unsafe.

Slum residents should be relocated to nearby areas but, if they need to be relocated to a location that is relatively far away, the local government should make sure that they have access to hospitals, schools and public transportation.

Additionally, the local government should also focus on the construction of infrastructure around the area of the new homes, to allow residents to enjoy services such as water, electricity, gas, heating, telecommunication and garbage disposal.

Governments at the city level - and also the county level - should streamline their approval procedure for the projects to upgrade slums.

Local governments should strictly supervise the quality of the new homes under construction, especially to check if the work of the companies responsible for surveying, design, construction and management meets the required standards - and officials should take measures in case of any irregularities.

The local authorities should also hold companies responsible for the quality of their projects, and should severely punish companies when their work does not meet quality standards.

The authorities at both the city level and the county level should inspect the quality of new homes of former slum-dwellers, and request that any quality issues should be resolved

The city and county authorities should also make annual plans concerning the

land which they aim to use for new homes for slum dwellers - and these plans should be transparent.

Government departments at the provincial level should conduct inspections regularly to make sure that the plans are implemented.

Local governments should increase their investment in the projects to upgrade the slums - and also offer tax cuts on such projects. The Central government and the provincial governments should increase their financial support.

China Development Bank has received approval to establish a department of housing financing - and the financing of such projects is an important part of this business. The authorities are also encouraging other financial institutions to support these projects.

Local governments should establish a system to make sure that loans will be repaid according to the terms of the agreements.