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People's Daily Online>>China Society

High-speed railway project under scrutiny

By Geng Wenxin (Global Times)

14:20, March 05, 2012

China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC), one of the contractors of China's Wuhan-Yichang high-speed railway project, denied media reports on tampering with a third-party quality inspection report for the railway project. However, experts told the Global Times yesterday that CGGC's announcement has not cleared the public's doubts.

A Time Weekly report said Thursday that CGGC's earth supplier Ni Hongjun reported to the authorities in 2010 that CGGC employees replaced at least 90,000 cubic meters of spall with earth for personal benefit, causing serious safety risks for high-speed trains and passengers.

However, a "third-party" inspection report released in September 2011 by the Civil Engineering Testing Center of Central South University said, under the influence of CGGC, that the project was "qualified". The report prevented the authorities and the public from knowing the truth.

CGGC reiterated the good quality of the project, reassured its permanent responsibility for the project, and denied "influencing" the inspection report.

CGGC was not reachable for comment yesterday as it was not a working day.

"CGGC didn't directly face and answer questions," a source from a research institute of the Ministry of Railway (MOR) told the Global Times yesterday on condition of anonymity.

CGGC's chief engineer, project security director and other key executives of the project who should have avoided meetings with the staff of the testing center accompanied them throughout the 15-day inspection process, making the creditability of the inspection report highly doubtful.

The Wuhan-Yichang high-speed railway runs in Central China's Hubei Province, an area prone to flooding caused by the Yangtze River and its tributaries. Replacing spall with earth for the project amounts to building a house on the foundation of cake, the source said.

"There are some common problems with the communication and cooperation in high-speed railway projects in China. Projects are not properly inspected during construction when responsibilities are not well defined. That's why some companies think there is room to gain extra profits," the source said.

"The Wuhan-Yichang high-speed railway project is CGGC's first high-speed railway project. The accusation will surely hurt its ability to get future contracts from the MOR," Tian Zhengyi, an analyst with Beijing-based market research company Zhengwang Consulting, told the Global Times.

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