Power station plan sparks protest

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 February, 2006, 12:00am

Residents of upscale Guangzhou area say proposed substation is illegal, unhealthy

About 200 residents of central Guangzhou's Taojin Road area picketed government offices yesterday to protest against the building of a power transformer station they say is illegal and threatens their health.

'They will start building a 220,000 volts substation in April,' said one of the protest leaders, her young son in tow.

'We are worried about the radiation. We live in a densely populated community where there are several kindergartens. The apartments are expensive.

'There wasn't any plan for a substation originally, but suddenly we were told there would be one,' she complained as she walked back to the Guangzhou Development and Reform Commission from the Land Resources Bureau, where the protesters were directed to lodge their complaints.

It was the third known protest against a new substation by Guangzhou residents in the past year.

The 10,000 residents of the Taojin Road area paid 9,000 yuan a square metre for their flats in several apartment blocks in the past few years.

They said the planning bureau violated administrative procedures when it approved the building of the Yungfu Substation, and they are petitioning the Land Resources Bureau to withhold its approval for the project.

They also went to the Guangdong Communist Party Committee headquarters to seek support for their call for the substation to be moved elsewhere.

A government source said the authorities had given the protesters an undertaking that the project would comply with rules. An environmental impact assessment would be carried out before construction and all precautions would be taken to ensure it was safe.

'Guangzhou is facing a power shortage,' he said. 'We need substations, but residents won't let us build them. In reality, property developers are not honest with house buyers. They don't tell them there are already plans for substations.'