A total 345,000 people need to be relocated in Central China within two years for construction of the South-to-North Water Diversion. The workload exceeds that of the Three Gorges that relocated 400,000 people in 18 years, the Beijing News reported on Monday.
First proposed by Chairman Mao Zedong, the massive water diversion project will divert 44.8 billion cubic meters of water from the Yangtze River to the north of China via eastern, central and western routes.
The volume of water to be diverted is the equivalent of the Yellow River, the second-longest river in China, according to the project’s official website.
The construction of the central route linking Beijing and Danjiangkou Reservoir in Hubei, began in December 2003 and is expected to finish in 2014. By then, the water supplied by the central route will account for 65 percent of Beijing’s daily water consumption.
About 162,000 people in Henan Province need to be relocated and half of them are in the city of Nanyang. A staff member with the migration office who refused to be identified told the Global Times that the relocation started in August 2009 and is due to finish at the end of this month. “The work here is mostly done,” he said, but refused to identify himself.
Asked how they would persuade those who didn’t want to move, the staff member refused to answer. “The policies are made by the leadership,” he said. “We just carry them out.”
The 183,000 people who still need to move lived in the city of Shiyan, Hubei Province.
“In fact the relocation was already in planning 10 years ago. It was put into practice in 2008,” a staff member with the Shiyan migration office told the Global Times on Monday on condition of anonymity.
People in Danjiangkou, Yunxian county, Yunxi county, Wudangshan special district, and Zhangwan district of Hubei Province also need to move by the end of August.
“The work here is much tougher than that of Henan,” he said. “People there are relatively poorer so they are more willing to move. But the situation here is different.”
The first two areas are relatively prosperous cities, with many people unwilling to leave their homes at reimbursement of 500 yuan ($78) a square meter, he said, much lower than the housing prices of the city.
“We offered some favorable policies and cadres visited door by door,” he said.
The relocation in the first two areas is scheduled to be finished by the end of September this year, the latter three by the end of August, he said.
“The situation is really tough. And maintaining social stability is the top priority.”
Governments are trying to relocate these people within the town or the county. Students are not likely to be affected when the new semester begins in September.
People relocated are provided with housing and reimbursement of 600 yuan ($92.7) a person a year for 20 years. One family that moved out of Henan has not received any money, a report from the Beijing Times revealed on Monday, and no one has repaired the house after resettlement.