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Tibet village raises toast to housing program

(China Daily)

09:43, February 06, 2012

Tubtantanpel (left) is all smiles during the party at his new home in Shelrong village, the Tibet autonomous region. The 74-year-old and his family received a subsidy of 88,000 yuan from the government to build the two-story house (right), which was designed to blend traditional Tibetan style and modern convenience. (China Daily / Dachiog)

New homes and roads bring more opportunities to farmers, herders

LHASA - As each guest came through his front door on Tuesday, Tubtantanpel filled his glass with homemade barley liquor, made a toast and then drained it in one.

For the 74-year-old and his family, it was a time for celebration.

Not only was it a lucky day on the traditional Tibetan calendar, but they were also hosting more than 100 neighbors for a house-warming party.

"Thanks to the government's housing project, we've been able to move from a small, adobe house to this 200-square-meter, two-story home," said the smiling pensioner, who like most Tibetans uses only his given name.

Along with a government subsidy of 88,000 yuan ($14,000), the family spent 30,000 yuan in savings to construct their new home in Shelrong village.

They also invested 20,000 yuan to buy furniture in time for Losar, the Tibetan New Year, which falls on Feb 22.

Tubtantanpel's village is in Quxu county, on the outskirts of Lhasa, capital of the Tibet autonomous region. As of Tuesday, all but one of the 22 households that live here are in new homes.

"The last one is finished and the family is just waiting for a date to move in," said Tashi, the village head, during the party.

He added that all the houses were carefully designed to blend Tibetan style and modern convenience.

"It has helped reduce the health risks that are caused by poor living conditions, such as when people used to live under the same roof as their livestock," said the 52-year-old. "Fire hazards are also reduced, as people no longer store fodder randomly and electrical wires aren't dangerously intertwined anymore."

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