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Xinjiang's herders find comfort and convenience in new 'happy stations'

By CHEN MEILING in Beijing and MAO WEIHUA in Urumqi | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-03-25 18:13

In a pasture unreachable by mobile maps, bitterly cold wind sweeps across the face, and frost covers the ground, yet the herders drink hot milk tea in houses as warm as spring.

Herders in Altay prefecture, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, have been provided with brand-new public houses, named "happy stations", so that when they are grazing outside and encounter severe weather, extreme cold or exhaustion, they have a place to rest, warm up and shelter.

Hairat Lehul, 52, from Qinghe county, frequently visited a "happy station" to eat or shower. "If I arrived late at night, I would sleep there," he said, adding that onsite workers also offer fodder grass and daily necessities.

Doctors check his physical condition monthly at the station, and veterinarians help with livestock epidemic control.

"I'm satisfied with the environment and services. The station gives us much convenience," he said.

Data from local authorities showed that since 2017, Altay has invested more than 36.57 million yuan ($5.07 million) to build 164 such stations along the routes where herders pass when moving from one pasture to another, benefiting about 50,000 people.

Fixed stations are about 100 to 120 square meters and include a reading room, medical treatment room, veterinarian's room, canteen and dormitory. Mobile stations are about 30 sq m and provide services like spring and autumn livestock medication baths and livestock population tracking.

The local government has dug wells for the stations' water usage and installed solar photovoltaic panels for power supply. It's also building more signal towers.

Video provided to chinadaily.com.cn

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