If you have a massive project, people get moved. But it is important that their life is improved, not downgraded. Authorities have started resettling 330,000 people in central China to make way for a massive project to divert water hundreds of miles to the booming cities in its arid north.
The $62 billion water diversion could be nearly three times as expensive as the Three Gorges Dam, shown here, the world’s largest hydroelectric project.
When completed, its three routes will move huge amounts of water from China’s central, southern and western regions through pipes and canals to Beijing and other northern cities.
People in Hubei and Henan provinces are being relocated from their homes near the Danjiangkou reservoir, where a sluice will be built to divert water from the Yangtze river and its tributaries.
The Philadelphia Enquirer said critics have warned the water diversion will cause environmental damage and some villagers said officials had forced them to sign agreements to relocate. This seems more than possible. But, again, if you are going to create such a major project, it is inevitable that not everyone will see it as a benefit.
Sources with the resettlement headquarters in Henan said the provincial government has approved new settlement areas with convenient traffic conditions and good soil quality. Resettlement in the province is scheduled to be completed in 2011.
Duan Shiyao, deputy chief of Hubei Provincial Resettlement Bureau said each resettled family will be given 0.1 hectare of land per person and an annual subsidy of RMB600 ($88) each for 20 years, according to Shanghai Daily News. Whether that will make them contented with their lot is another question.