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Premier Li sets deadline to renovate shantytowns in mining subsidence areas

Updated: Mar 10,2015 4:21 PM     english.gov.cn

Premier Li Keqiang joins discussion with National People’s Congress (NPC) deputies from Heilongjiang province in Beijing, March 9.

Premier Li Keqiang ordered that renovation work in shantytowns located in areas hit by mining subsidence must be done within this term of government during a meeting on March 9 with the National People’s Congress (NPC) deputies from Heilongjiang province to review the government work report.

“The heads of the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development are here with us today”, Premier Li said on the meeting, “and I have an urgent task for you; the problem of shantytown renovation in mining subsidence areas must be solved within the term of this government”.

Premier Li Keqiang joins discussion with National People’s Congress (NPC) deputies from Heilongjiang province in Beijing, March 9.

This meant that the problem must be solved in three years, the Premier said.

Han Lihua, mayor of Qitaihe, a prefecture-level city east of Harbin, said there are 140,000 homes in dilapidated buildings in four mining subsidence areas in Heilongjiang.

The Premier seemed shocked by the huge number and his mood became even more serious when he learned from Chen Zhenggao, head of the housing ministry, of the poor conditions in the shantytowns.

“I’ve been to mining subsidence areas, many homes there have collapsed or have been flooded or experience severe damp, and some homes may be at risk from explosion,’’ Chen said.

“The people there lack basic life security”, Li said, “They don’t know when their home may collapse and when there will be gas coming up from the ground. It is a matter of life and death.”

The Premier then asked local officials how much would it cost per square meter to rebuild homes with two-brick thick outer walls. In the Premier’s concluding remarks, he stressed that people in Heilongjiang as well as the entire northeast region of China, had made a significant contribution to building China’s industrial success.

“We shouldn’t forget the efforts made by the older generation of workers and their offspring when living in a world today which economic globalization deepens every day.”

Not only in Heilongjiang, shantytowns in other mining subsidence areas will also be transformed within the span of this term of the government, Li promised and he ordered provincial and municipal leaders to ensure the commitment is met.

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