Xinjiang's capital to build new homes for shantytown residents

17:55, February 04, 2010      

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Authorities in the Xinjiang regional capital of Urumqi in northwest China are working to build new homes for tens of thousands of low-income residents living in the city's shantytowns.

Under the renovation project, the municipal government would invest 3.54 billion yuan (520.6 million U.S. dollars) this year to demolish old houses and relocate 10,000 families.

In the Tianshan District, the government would invest about 1.2 billion yuan (176.5 million U.S. dollars) this year to renovate nine shantytowns.

"The project (in this phase) is expected to be completed within five years," said Alimjan Memetimin, head of the Tianshan District government.

"We will transform the shantytowns into residential communities with beautiful environment and complete infrastructure services," he said.

The district government has dispatched more than 60 staff members to those areas to make clear the total number of permanent residents as more people would be relocated and more new homes built in the future, he said.

The shantytowns in downtown Urumqi, totaling 48 in different sizes, have been existing for several decades, with the oldest house dating back to the 1930s. The areas have gathered people of different ethnic groups including Han, Uygur, Hui, Kazak, Mongolian, Russian and others.

Most of the residents in the shantytowns have voiced support for the renovation project.

"I have been living here for more than 20 years, and I have longed for the renovation and moving to a new apartment building," said 86-year-old Tuohutahan Apiz in her shabby room with dim light in Erdaoqiao.

She has five children and more than 10 grandchildren. A daughter is living with her to take care of her.

"Such an unpleasant environment makes my life difficult," said Liang Huiqin, another resident. "I hope the houses will be demolished as soon as possible."

Source: Xinhua
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