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English>>China Society

Drivers seek compensation for damage

By Cao Yin (China Daily)

08:48, July 31, 2012

Scores of drivers whose automobiles were submerged in floodwaters on an expressway on July 21 have asked a highway company to pay them compensation.

The drivers went to Beijing Capital Highway Development Group, a State-owned enterprise in charge of the Beijing-Hong Kong-Macao Expressway's construction and operation, on Friday to request compensation. They claimed the company should be responsible for the loss of their vehicles because its toll station created a traffic jam, causing many cars to become stuck on the flooded expressway.

A Capital Highway employee who did not want to be identified said on Monday that they reported a compensation plan to higher authorities last week but have not received a reply.

He declined to provide additional details about the plan and said the city flood control authority will soon publish relevant information.

Yu Yaping, head of the flood control authority's information office, said now is not the time to debate whether the drivers should be compensated because his office is still preparing to cope with new floods.

"The compensation is not our job. We're responsible for informing residents the time of future downpours and coordinating departments to prepare for floods," Yu said. "In other words, our role is more like a publisher, not an enforcement department to specifically solve the drivers' problems."

During the heavy rain, the toll station at the Nangangwa section of the Beijing-Hong Kong-Macao Expressway collected tolls, causing a traffic jam, said Lu Hong, a businessman who was trapped on the expressway and participated in Friday's compensation request.

Lu, 49, said he paid about 200,000 yuan ($31,360) for his car two years ago, and now the engine is damaged beyond repair.

Lu said his insurance company has agreed to cover the damage, but he still wants the group to compensate him with a new car of equal value.

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