More than 61,000 poor people from the most inhospitable parts of northwest China's Gansu Province will be moved this year in a government-supported poverty eradication program.
Gansu Provincial Development and Reform Bureau said program beneficiaries would come from 69 counties (cities or districts), including 10,425 residents who would move to make way for construction of ecological projects, and 5,279 people who would move out of geologically unsafe areas. The cost is 270 million yuan (about US$36.99 million), said the source.
The figure will account for about one quarter of the total rural poor China plans to move under the poverty eradication program this year. Central government will support the project to the tune of 1.2 billion yuan (about US$165 million).
For those in the program it has been life changing. The mountain is as barren as the shaven head of a monk and there is no water flow, said Li Fengde, a beneficiary of the poverty eradication program, while cherishing the memory of his ancestral home.
Li, who used to live in the mountainous Boji Village in Hengliang Township, Gulang County at the northeastern foot of the Qilian Range, led a miserable life before July 2006 when his family of six and a further 150 fellow villagers moved to live at a resettlement center at Qiduntai, a Yellow River irrigated area also inside Gulang.
"Barring not having enough to eat for the year round, we had difficulties in other aspects, including obtaining drinkable water, traveling, going to see doctors for ailments, finding spouses, and even in sending children to schools," recalled Li.
Life has changed for the better for Li and others at Qiduntai, where people have been living in well-arranged bungalows.
Out of the 340,000 poor people who have moved and settled on better land, 80,000 have bidden farewell to poverty and lead a comparatively affluent life, according to Jia Yong'an, a provincial official in charge of poverty eradication program through relocation.
Gansu, an arid, land-locked region, is one of the country's poverty-ridden areas. By the year 2006, the number of poor people in the province, with a per capita annual income below 1,015 yuan, totaled 4.56 million. It began the poverty eradication program in 2001. Since then, more than 340,000 poor people have moved and settled on better land, thanks to the financial support of 1.46 billion yuan from the state.
(Xinhua News Agency March 12, 2008)