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Building to Start Soon on Shanghai's Budget Homes for Low-paid

Work on the first batch of budget homes for low-income groups will start in the next three months, Shanghai's government officials said on Tuesday.

Huang Rong, director of Shanghai Construction and Transport Commission, said construction of the first batch of 1.6 million square meters of budget apartments will start during the third quarter of this year as one of the city's government-supported construction programs. The local government plans to complete 4 million square meters of budget houses by the end of this year.

The apartments will be sold to low-income earners in Shanghai.

Though government officials said they had not worked out detailed criteria to decide who is eligible to buy the apartments, families will probably have to meet several conditions, according to Xinmin Evening News.

These include having living quarters of less than 14 square meters per person, a monthly income of less than 2,100 yuan (US$307) each, and total assets of less than 200,000 yuan, the report said.

Also yesterday, government officials said that the city was under growing pressure to get massive urban construction projects under way because of inflation.

The local government had planned to invest 122.4 billion yuan this year to reconstruct downtown areas and build new Metro lines, tunnels, bridges and other important infrastructure.

In the first six months this year, about 36 percent of the planned construction tasks had started, costing 44 billion yuan.

Officials said the rising consumer price index had caused obvious pressures on construction budgets, meaning greater efforts were needed to overcome the challenges ahead.

Construction departments have been urged to tighten supervision as officials worried that cost increases could lead to quality issues on building materials. The city has seven new tunnels and eight Metro lines and extensions under construction.

(Shanghai Daily July 23, 2008)

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