China to relocate 330,000 for water project

Beijing, Aug 22 (Calcutta Tube) Over 330,000 people in two provinces in China would be relocated by 2014 to make way for one of the country’s biggest water diversion projects.

Around 180,000 people will be relocated in Hubei and 150,000 in Henan province for the South-North Water Diversion Project (SNWD), designed to take water from China’s largest river – the Yangtze – to satisfy the demand in north China’s drought-prone megacities – Beijing and Tianjin, the China Daily reported Thursday.

Around 500 people bid farewell Wednesday to their hometown Danjiankou in Niuhelin district, becoming the first group to relocate. Their hometown will be submerged by 2014 under 170 metres of water.

The government paid for their dinner and organised a performance by gong and drum players to cheer up the villagers.

‘Nobody cried when the coaches left our village. Last night, we felt sorrow when the whole village gathered to have our last dinner in our hometown together,’ a villager surnamed Wang said.

A fleet of 15 coaches carried the villagers while 34 trucks loaded with the villagers’ belongings was followed by ambulances with the village’s elderly, unwell and pregnant.

The group headed to their new homes 300 kilometres away in neighbouring Shayang county.

‘My husband had been to Shayang County to see our new house. He told us it is a small two-storey house much better than our old bungalow,’ said Ke Changrong.

Ke said the local Shayang government allocated about 0.4 hectare of cultivable land. Each household has also been given food for a week as well as cooking utensils.

County Mayor Zeng said the people will receive government subsidy for the next 20 years, in addition to a one-off compensation payment for each household.

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