Holiday slows work on station
By GEOFFREY CROTHALL in Beijing
WORK on one of the biggest construction projects in the Chinese capital, Beijing West Railway Station, has been disrupted by a severe shortage of labour.
Many of the 10,000 mainly rural migrant labourers employed on the construction site have returned to their home towns prior to the Lunar New Year, forcing officials to scour the city in search of unemployed workers.
Those still on the site are being forced to work round the clock in order to ensure the prestigeous 2.5 billion yuan (HK$2.2 billion) project is kept on schedule.
Workers at the site said yesterday there had already been numerous accidents because of the increased workload, but added they had no option but keep up the frenetic pace.
Beijing West is one of the key railway projects of the decade.
The officials responsible for its construction are under tremendous pressure from the Communist Party and Government to ensure it is completed on time and within budget.
The passenger train terminal, due to be completed early next year, will become by far the largest transport hub in the city, dwarfing the massively overburdened Beijing Station built in the late 1950s.
The construction site occupies a vast track of land stretching for over a kilometre from the third ring road north of Lotus Flower Lake to a tunnel which will eventually link with Beijing Station in the city centre.
Land to the north of the station is also being redeveloped with dozens of low-rise courtyard houses being demolished to make way for new roads and a shopping centre.
A row of four-storey apartment buildings, immediately north of new terminal building, will be demolished after the Lunar New Year.