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2 Mln to Be Moved out of Poverty

China Daily, August 21, 2012 Adjust font size:

One of the country's poorest provinces plans to solve its poverty problem by moving two million people out of its mountains and barren terrains before 2020.

The project will be one of the largest government-initiated migrations in the country, surpassing the Three Gorges Dam relocation that involved 1.27 million people along the Yangtze River.

Guizhou plans to move the first 100,000 this year, which will cost 1.8 billion yuan (US$283 million), according to Chen Yiqin, deputy governor of Guizhou, who said the relocation scheme is key to Guizhou's "final offensive against poverty."

About 11.5 million people, or one-third of Guizhou's rural population live under the state poverty line. Guizhou has the largest number of people in poverty in China.

The province has very few flat areas suitable for growing food, with mountains and hills taking up 92.5 percent of its total land area. The region is also prone to geological and natural disasters such as landslides and floods.

Ye Tao, head of provincial poverty alleviation office, said the "hardest nut to crack" is to lift people from deep mountains and barren regions out of poverty.

Living conditions are harsh and the environment cannot sustain that many lives in many areas, said Xiao Hong, deputy mayor of Tongren, adding that "relocation is the only option at hand."

Ye said the people will be relocated to towns and industrial districts where there will be opportunities. Construction of 181 resettlement communities for this year has already begun.

He said the government has drawn up policies from housing, employment to social welfare to help the relocated settle down.

For this year, each relocated family will be allocated a house no smaller than 80 square meters. The government has also pledged to offer retail stalls to families, officials said.

The funding for the new house will be shared by the family and the government, with the latter taking care of the construction.

Wu Yutao, a villager in Songtao Miao autonomous county, said she was excited to leave the family's 50-year-old rural home and move into a town.

China has migrated many people, such as in the Three Gorges project. Since the 1990s, more than 1.27 million people living on the banks of the upper Yangtze River migrated out of the region to give way to the construction of the dam, the world's largest hydropower project, in central Hubei province.

But the largest relocation was launched in Shaanxi province last year. The government aims to move nearly 2.8 million people out of either poverty-stricken or geological disasters-prone areas in the next ten years.

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