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CS inspects reconstruction projects in Sichuan (with photos)  

The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Stephen Lam, today (January 16) led a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) delegation to inspect reconstruction projects funded by the HKSAR in Sichuan Province's earthquake-stricken areas, including infrastructure, health and social welfare projects. He also met with the Executive Vice-governor of Sichuan, Mr Wei Hong, to discuss the overall progress of the reconstruction work, the use and supervision of funds and the long-term operation of the projects.

At the meeting with Mr Wei, Mr Lam said, "At present, almost half of the reconstruction projects have been completed. It is expected that most of the remaining projects will be completed this year. I am glad to see that the HKSAR-funded reconstruction projects have come into operation and brought about significant improvements to Sichuan people's livelihoods. Concerted efforts by Sichuan and Hong Kong have ensured the quality and quantity of the reconstruction projects, and good use of the relevant funds."

Both sides agreed to ensure that Provincial Road 303 and Mianmao Highway are able to withstand natural disasters and sought to strive for the early resumption of the project following its disruption due to serious flooding and mudslides. The maximum funding commitment by the HKSAR will remain unchanged. The Sichuan authorities promised to step up efforts to develop ancillary software, such as mode of operation and human resources.

Before the meeting, Mr Lam and the delegation inspected Provincial Road 303 work site in Yingxiu County. The Trust Fund in Support of Reconstruction in the Sichuan Earthquake Stricken Area (The Fund) has allocated $765.6 million Renminbi to build Provincial Road 303, which provides vital access to the Wolong Nature Reserve. Provincial Road 303 will provide some 6,000 residents in the Wolong area with a route to other areas and will also facilitate the development of the local community and tourism. Serious flooding and large-scale mudslides in 2010 and last summer severely damaged the construction work on Provincial Road 303 and changed the landscape in the road's vicinity. Sichuan authorities are working on improvements to ensure the long-term safety of the project.

While inspecting the site, Mr Lam said that Provincial Road 303 has significant implications for the Sichuan people and both the Sichuan and Hong Kong Governments are concerned about the progress of the project.

"In the face of the daunting nature of the project and frequent natural disasters, the two places will continue to enhance communications and co-ordination, and make the best use of talent and manpower, to implement these infrastructural projects," Mr Lam said.

Mr Lam and the delegation then officiated at an opening ceremony at the Deyang City Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine Hospital. Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Lam said that the hospital provides quality Chinese, Western and Chinese-Western integrated medical services to meet the needs of local people. He said he hoped that in addition to restoring and enhancing the hardware of the medical infrastructure in Sichuan, the two places could strengthen their exchange of medical professionals and expertise. The Fund granted 31.49 million Renminbi for the hospital to construct a new complex providing 200 hospital beds and improve the existing outpatient department block. The project was completed and commenced operation in December 2011.

In the afternoon Mr Lam continued his programme by visiting elderly people living in the Guanghan County Integrated Social Welfare Services Centre and extending to them his Chinese New Year greetings. The Fund allocated about $24 million Renminbi for the construction of the centre, comprising a social welfare home and a rehabilitation centre for people with disabilities. The project was completed in March 2011.

Mr Lam also visited the ruins left by the earthquake in Yingxiu and saw the reconstruction in progress.

Joining Mr Lam for the meeting and the site visits were the Team Leader, Sichuan Reconstruction, Development Bureau, Mr Mak Chai-kwong; the Director of Social Welfare, Mr Patrick Nip; and representatives of relevant bureaux and departments.

Mr Lam will return to Hong Kong tonight.

Ends/Monday, January 16, 2012
Issued at HKT 20:17