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Jiangsu eases public concerns over construction projects

By Cang Wei in Nanjing | China Daily | Updated: 2018-06-22 08:52

Jiangsu province has been soliciting public opinion and inviting third-party companies to provide assessments before construction starts on major projects, according to top provincial officials.

Liu Hua, chief of the Jiangsu People's Procuratorate, said major projects can only start construction after they get people's support and pass all risk assessments.

"Jiangsu province has evaluated 51,431 projects since 2012," she said. "Among them, 391 have been suspended and 115 denied. To get the projects approved, the workers visited about 2.8 million people over six years and solved 93,000 disputes to get their support."

Chen Yizhong, deputy Party chief of the Jiangsu Public Security Bureau, said the province has been paying more attention to assessments before starting construction on sensitive projects, such as garbage disposal plants, transformer substations and projects that require pulling down houses and moving people out.

"The provincial social stability office examined 154 projects that may influence the environment in 2017," Chen said. "The construction of eight garbage disposal facilities across the province won people's support after we fully explained the projects."

The construction of the Xidong garbage disposal plant, located in Wuxi, was suspended for five years because of local objections. After a detailed assessment, many problems were resolved, and residents finally dropped their opposition.

"The 22,000 people living nearby were concerned that the garbage disposal facility might affect their health," said Yang Guangxue, director of the office's information research department. "We visited each of the 6,150 families, listened to their concerns and tried our best to resolve their problems."

According to Yang, the Wuxi government hired residents as supervisors and workers to ease their worries. It expanded the distance from the factory to other projects from 300 to 700 meters to guarantee safety. Gardens have been created and trees planted to improve the environment.

It also spent billions of yuan to help locals get social security, build roads and set up public welfare funds, Yang said.

"Professional third-party companies will also be invited to assess all the risks in the second phase of the plant," Yang said. "It won't start construction until all concerns are dealt with."

The social stability office has established a third-party service platform for governments and companies to consult. The platform consists of more than 300 third-party organizations and 4,839 experts in various areas.

Also, the office has given more than 2,000 lectures to the social stability offices in many counties and 13 cities since 2012.

Liu Huanxin, a resident of Qiaogong village near the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge, said he and many other neighbors were invited by a third-party organization to give opinions about the repair work on the bridge in 2016.

The bridge, which has been closed for 21 month for repairs, will not be put back into use until December. The double-deck bridge, one of the main ways people can cross the Yangtze, greatly influences the lives of nearby residents.

"We're worried that it will be more difficult for us to bypass the bridge," said Liu. "The noise of construction, the demolition of some houses near the bridge and the environmental restoration also concern us."

He said the local government provided detailed solutions for all the problems raised and is keeping people updated on the progress of repairs.

"It is arranging for more subway cars under the Yangtze," he said. "And it's ordering more buses to take people from residential communities to subway stations and letting cars go through the Yangtze River Tunnel for free."

"We take people's interests into account during the risk assessments and don't deprive them of their rights," said Shi Wei, director of the information research department of Nanjing's social stability office. "People will understand our work if we care about their lives and solve their problems."

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