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Corruption blamed for burst water pipes and lack of supply in NW China city
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21:41, December 16, 2008

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Corruption has been blamed for the third burst in the water supply pipes in two weeks in the northwestern city of Baoji, Shaanxi Province, in which tens of thousands of residents have been cut off.

The latest pipe burst took place at 12:40 a.m. on Tuesday, becoming the 11th burst since the project of water channeling from a local reservoir was completed a decade ago and the third so far this month.

Workers have turned off the pipe and begun repairs. They said water supply could resume on Wednesday afternoon, which means at least 70 percent of the city's 600,000 urban residents would face water shortages until then.

The burst on Tuesday was in the middle of a highway, near the site of the previous one. The road surface above the pipe was broken and the highway was flooded.

One name was mentioned again in the wake of the burst. Pang Jiayu, who was acting as mayor and Party chief of Baoji from 1997to 1999, was widely blamed for dereliction of duty as he was in charge of the water channeling project.

The Shaanxi provincial committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has criticized Pang for dereliction of duty that led substandard pipes to be used.

Pan was jailed for 12 years for corruption by a court in June.

The project experienced three pipe bursts in 1998, the year when the project was constructed. It saw two recent pipe bursts onDec. 4 and Dec. 10 this year. During a burst in 2005, water gushedto seven meters high.

Last week, Baoji Mayor Dai Zhengshe made an apology to residents over the frequent pipe bursts, and promised that a new water channeling system would be put into use next year.

The city suffered at least 12.3 million yuan (about 1.8 million U.S. dollars) from the first 10 pipe bursts, said an official withthe Baoji city government.


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