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National roads project will leave 'no village' behind

By LUO WANGSHU/PENG YINING | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-25 08:47

National roads project will leave 'no village' behind

Cyclists ride their bicycles in a race tournament on a rural road in Anji, East China's Zhejiang province on May 22, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

Every village in China will have access to asphalt roads by 2020, as part of efforts to lift more rural areas out of poverty, the vice-minister of transport said on Thursday.

"By 2020, most impoverished areas will have access to freeways, and counties will be connected to highways where possible," Dai Dongchang said at a news conference in Beijing arranged by the State Council Information Office.

"Townships and villages will have asphalt roads and operational buses, and a comprehensive transport network will be formed. No village will be left behind."

Transportation is a fundamental requirement for social and economic development, he said. "Better roads lead to better lives."

The central government has set a goal to lift 70 million people out of poverty and build a moderately well-off society by 2020.

To achieve this, the ministry has set a series of goals for the next five years to link poverty-stricken and isolated areas with the outside world, including:

・ Renovating 16,000 kilometers of freeways and about 46,000 km of highways by 2020;

・ Constructing about 195,000 km of asphalt road between townships and villages by 2019;

・ Supporting 1,177 poverty-stricken counties in building better roads, almost double the number in the previous five years;

・ Improving safety on rural highways by renovating 300,000 km, including upgrading 15,000 bridges and widening lanes.

Ou Qingping, deputy director of the State Council Leading Group of Poverty Alleviation and Development, said when he visits poor regions, the most urgent need is to build roads.

"I visited a poverty-stricken village in Luocheng county in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region last year," he said. "I asked the village head what had been most effective in alleviating poverty in the past few years and he said road access.

"Because of the road, the village's sugar cane can now be transported to the outside world and sells for a considerable price."

In Aksupa township, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, villagers grow cotton and rear sheep.

"Many villages are near the Taklamakan desert, very isolated and have little access to transport links," said Li Xinyun, a township government employee. "Because of this, many villagers live in poverty. In the past two years, many villages have gained access to asphalt roads, and it's become much more convenient to transport agricultural products and make good money.

"Families that had 100 sheep now can breed 300 because they can easily transport livestock to market," he said.

Peng Yining contributed to this story.


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