REPLANTING UPROOTED MASSES
CHAN YEE HON
Chongqing aims to help more than a million people uprooted by the Three Gorges Dam find new homes and jobs through a programme of road building, developing high-yield agriculture and reapportioning of lands.
The Three Gorges Dam, the biggest project of its kind in the world, occupies an area of more than 1,000 square km and has meant relocating 1.2 million people.
About 150,000 have been resettled so far since 1992, a process that has gone relatively smoothly.
Many difficulties, however, have surfaced with the scheme.
Chongqing must resettle the largest share of people, and with dam areas around the city mountainous and land poorly suited to cultivation, its job of relocating is made much more difficult.
As the resettlement of such a large number frequently involves cutting down trees, contributing to serious floods, the city has decided to concentrate on other methods.
Experts from the Southwest Agriculture University have already drafted a report offering suggestions on what kind of agriculture to develop to raise productivity in the dam areas to increase the population they can support.
The aim is to make room for an estimated 10,000 people and create business opportunities for a further 100,000 relocated residents.