China builds highway in Tibet

April 21st, 2009 - 12:24 am ICT by IANS  

Tibet (China), April 20 (Xinhua) China Monday began building a highway in Medog county here to end the region’s isolation with the outside world, an official said.
“Costing 950 million yuan ($139 million), the 117-km highway will link the Zhamog township with Medog,” Wong Mengyong, deputy transportation minister, said, adding that the project will be completed by 2011. The area is close to China’s border with India.

Tough terrains, complicated geological conditions, lack of funds and poor technologies had failed seven attempts to build a highway in the area since the 1970s.

“We have no road, no postal services, and little communication with the outside world. Local residents rely on horse and mules for transportation,” said Ngodrup Doje, Medog’s county head.

“Many people in the county haven’t seen vehicles. Our life will change a lot once the road is completed,” he said.

In the first phase of the project, a 3.3-km-long tunnel will be constructed through the Galung La mountain, about 4,000 metres above the sea level.

About 300 technical staff from the police department are currently involved in the project in Tibet’s Nyingchi prefecture.

The tunnel will be completed in two years, said Liu Genshui, in charge of the project.

“When it is completed, the progress for the rest of the project will be smooth,” he added.

About 10,000 people live in the Medog county. It is the last of the country’s 2,100 counties to be connected with a highway.

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