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Tibet to Improve Housing Conditions

Tibet will invest 300 million yuan (US$37.5 million) in the next five years to improve housing conditions of 25,000 households of farmers and herdsmen at its border areas.

The investment will be used to transform current clay or wooden houses into structures of both stone and wood, to make them more durable and comfortable, said Guo Jian, an official with the autonomous region's Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee.

With a population of about 360,000, 21 counties and 110 towns in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, are located near the frontier areas bordering such countries as India, Myanmar and Nepal.

In the past five years, the central and regional governments have invested more than 100 million yuan (US$12.5 million) in some 380 projects to improve education, traffic and medical conditions for people in those remote counties and ethnic minority groups with small populations in the region.

Statistics from the State Development and Reform Commission show that the central government earmarked about 15.9 billion yuan (US$1.9 billion) to boost the development of ethnic minority groups regions in 2005, which is more than doubled that of 2004.

The central government will continue to increase its investment for those regions in the coming years to promote rapid development of them, said Wang Jinxiang, deputy director of the commission.

(Xinhua News Agency August 1, 2006)

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