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Quake zones seek effective supervision over reconstruction aid
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09:25, May 09, 2009

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Speakers, bulletins, phones, Internet and patrolling vehicles, either traditional or modern, are being used in some regions hit by last year's May 12 quake to monitor the use of reconstruction funds.

A huge speaker hanging high on a tree was broadcasting a long list of donation materials that Sanhedian Village, Sichuan Province, has received this year and how they had been distributed to villagers for house rebuilding.

Speakers, a popular means of communication in China's rural areas decades ago, are still available in the remote mountainous village in northwestern part of Sichuan, the epicenter of the quake killing more than 69,000 Chinese people and leaving nearly 18,000 missing.

"It is efficient in letting people know about the use of reconstruction funds and materials, especially for those who can't read," said Chen Shaopeng, one of the 308 fund supervisors invited by the provincial government from the public.

Residents are welcomed to report any clues of misuse of quake-relief and reconstruction aid to authorities, or just call the hotline 123888, launched soon after the quake by the discipline inspection commission of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Sichuan provincial committee.

Sichuan also established a webpage for public consulting and reporting, which people can get access to from 174 administrative service centers across the province and receive feedback from 36 provincial-level authorities.

So far, 246 Sichuan officials have been found violating laws or Party discipline during quake-relief or reconstruction campaigns, Ren Junnian, vice secretary of the provincial discipline inspection commission, said Friday.

Among them, 31 were sentenced over criminal convictions and 157received administrative or Party disciplinary punishments, said Ren.

China had invested 360 billion yuan (about 52.7 billion U.S. dollars) in post-earthquake reconstruction as of April, one-third of the planned total, according to Mu Hong, vice minister of the National Development and Reform Commission.

The planned 1 trillion yuan investment will cover more than 200,000 projects to allow essential infrastructure, such as railroads, highways and airports to return to service.

Li Yuncai, a native of quake-hit Gansu Province, was checking a bulletin about quake aid published at the entrance of his village in Wenxian County.

The list showed that Li had received 20,000 yuan from the government for house reconstruction and food, clothes and other quake-relief materials this year.

"Even one package of instant noodles were registered," Li said, adding that he had thought the management of quake funds and materials could be a mess.

Liu Shuangde was rebuilding his house in Lixian County with bricks, cement, tiles and other construction materials purchased with government fund.

"The government used the 20,000 yuan to buy materials we need at group prices, and we can check the deals online through an e-supervision webpage," said Liu.

The system covers every household, village, county and city in Gansu, as it sends out green signals when the planned investment or donation reaches designated households from the government.

"We'll dispatch officers to inspect the situation if the red lights keep twinkling," said Li Yancheng, a supervisor of Longnan City, which administers Wenxian and Lixian counties.

Up to 95.7 percent of the reconstruction for rural houses had started, 76.6 percent of which had been finished, according to Mu.

Ningqiang County in Shaanxi Province, also badly damaged in the quake, sent off patrolling vehicles on the street to receive public reports over suspected misuse of reconstruction funds or corruption on May 30 last year.

"The method ensured people's interests and improved openness of governance," said Jiang Mingqing, the county's head of discipline inspection authority.

Public clues helped to retrieve 2,400 yuan from unqualified aid accepters last year and responsible officials were punished.

Liu Jiayi, the head of China's National Audit Office (CNAO), pledged in a press release in February to step up supervision over the 4 trillion yuan stimulus fund, one fourth of which is designed for quake-zone recovery.

The CNAO was focused on checking the quality, fund management and land use of reconstruction projects in quake-stricken Sichuan Province, said Zhang.

Source: Xinhua

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