Xinjiang hopes for chunk of railway spending
China is to spend 800 billion yuan ($115.7 billion) on railway construction projects in 2017, providing music to the ears of people in western China who have long called for greater rail infrastructure in the region.
The news comes as part of a government work report released on March 5 during the National Party Conference (NPC), held in Beijing.
In 2016, Zen Cun, an NPC delegate from Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, told the CPPCC, “We are eager for a new high-speed railway from Urumqi to Kashgar prefecture, Southwest Xinjiang, covering 1,588 kilometers.”
Further railway construction has long been voiced by people in western China, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Gansu province included.
By the end of 2016, China led the world in rail track construction, racking up 120,000 kilometers, but most of that infrastructure is centered in the east and south of the country.
Li Na, an NPC delegate from Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, said that the rail network in the west needs to catch up with that in the east so that better development and upward mobility can be achieved.
“It takes eight hours by bus to the capital city Urumqi, 600 kilometers away from my hometown, Tarbagatay prefecture, Northwest Xinjiang, and we hope one day a railway will be available,” Li said. A high-speed rail line running from Lanzhou to Xinjiang opened in 2014, with a further 120 billion yuan being spent on 123 projects by the end of 2015.
“The railway has already proved a real boon for regional development, and has made the area Urumqi an emerging business hub,” said Wang Ying, a postdoctoral professor in theoretical economics from Xinjiang University.
Source from China Daily