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Geo-Factor 'No Problem' for Railway Project

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 02/04/16; April 16, 2002.]

(China Daily is an official publication of the Chinese government)
(GUO AIBING), China Daily

A report alleging the Qinghai-Tibet Railway project will be modified due to geological activities in the world's highest plateau has been refuted by the Ministry of Railways.

Zhang Fuchun, an official with the Publicity Department under the ministry, said yesterday geological factors had been taken into consideration before the big-budget project began last year.

"We are fully aware of the geological activities, such as earthquakes, in the region, and it will not interrupt the project's timetable," Zhang said.

A report in Beijing Youth Daily yesterday stated that the Qinghai-Tibet Railway project would be modified in the near future because some parts of the designed route had experienced an 8.1-Richter-scale earthquake in November.

The Institute of Geomechanics under the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences was attributed to the allegation.

But Wu Zhenhan, director of the institute, told China Daily that the Beijing Youth reporter misunderstood their words.

"We did say the geological activities in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are active but we do not think they will interrupt the railway project," Wu said.

Wu said the regions around the Kulun Mountains on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are prone to one of the most active geological movements in the world. The earthquake in November ripped apart an area, where the Qinghai-Tibet railway project is set to pass through.

Wu said filling the gaps with soil or building bridges can help the railway pass the region safely, "so there is no inevitable modification."

Wu's institute was invited to conduct a geological assessment along the 1,118-kilometre railway route last year, and they have finished the assessment of the northern regions.

The institute concluded there were active geological movements in the region but did not cause any foreseeable problems to the railway project.

"We provide geological data to related departments for reference in precaution of possible damages from geological activities," Wu said.

He said there are no 100 per cent earthquake-proof regions in the world, so the Qinghai-Tibet railway is also under the threat of geological disasters.

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