Top Chinese legislator urges improving people's income levels in poor NW region

BEIJING, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Top Chinese legislator, Wu Bangguo, has urged government departments to take effective measures to solve shortages of drinking water and improve the living standards for residents in an impoverished northwestern area of the country.

"It is a long-term strategic task and an urgent livelihood project to improve the environment and basic living standards in the impoverished areas in Ningxia," said Wu Bangguo during an inspection in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

Wu, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, urged officials to solve the region's drinking water problem in about three years and accelerate the evacuation of local residents to places with better environment.

With an inhospitable natural environment coupled with a severe ongoing drought, the central and southern regions of Ningxia are one of the key impoverished areas for the country to support.

Wu visited a mountainous village called Haigou, where the average annual income per capita is only about 2,700 yuan (400 U.S. dollars).

Some 251 villagers of the Hui ethnic group are living in the village, and they have been suffering shortages of drinking water due to water and soil losses.

In recent years, the NPC members in Xingxia raised many proposals to tackle the water issue, including developing high efficient irrigation systems for drought areas, setting up potato plantation bases and organizing ecological migration.

While visiting an energy and chemical plant base, Wu stressed that coal electricity and coal-powered chemical industry were "essential" for Ningxia's future economic development.

With an annual output surpassing 55 million tonnes, Ningxia's coal output per capita ranks third in the country.

He urged the region to convert "resource advantages to economic advantages" with scientific planning, advanced technology and better use of resources.

In addition, Wu stressed coordinated urban and rural development and education for the autonomous region.


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