BEIJING has brought forward the deadline for cleaning up the extremely polluted Huaihe River. The pollution in the river has resulted in economic losses of at least 660 million yuan (HK$595 million) and has left 250,000 people without clean drinking water. Running through the east Chinese provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui, Shangdong and Henan, the 1,000-kilometre-long Huaihe has become one of the country's dirtiest rivers due to the modernisation drive. Since late last month, polluted water from upstream Huaihe has killed 12 million kilograms of fish and 13,000 kg of crabs in downstream Hongze and Xuyi counties in Jiangsu. Xinhua (the New China News Agency) said yesterday Premier Li Peng had urged all enterprises along the river to clean up effluent to acceptable standards by 1997, three years in advance of the date set at a meeting chaired by State Councillor Song Jian in May. Chen Yun, Director of the Hydraulic Bureau of Huaiying, where Xuyi and Hongze were located, said all factories at upstream Henan and Anhui had been ordered to stop production and instal proper waste treatment facilities. Li Jianguo, deputy chairman of the hardest hit Xuyi county, said 250,000 people had no drinking water and more than 3,300 people had suffered from various kind of dysentery diseases.