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Lhasa's old city zone gets face-lift

(China Tibet Online)

09:08, December 28, 2012

The city government of Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, is investing 1.2 billion yuan (196 million U.S. dollars) to upgrade infrastructure in the old urban areas.

The face-lift project will cover upgrading of water supply, drainage, pipelines, electrical lines and street lamps, as well as the building of heating facilities, preservation of buildings with Tibetan architecture styles, and improvement of sanitation services.

Covering an area of 1.33 square km, the old urban areas of Lhasa have a population of 80,000 and boasts the famed Barkhor Street, featured by bustling businesses, tourists and cultural sites, and the Jokhang Temple, one of the major monasteries and a World Cultural Heritage site in Tibet.

"To protect the ancient temples and street, the government and cultural relics preservation authorities had joint hands to work out a delicate and scientific renovation plan, so that we can eliminate safety hazards and protect the religious sites," said Chimed Tsering, deputy head of the Chengguan District government.

The renovation plan was raised early in March, and 96 percent of local residents who responded questionnaires agreed, Chimed Tsering said.

For years, local legislators and political advisors have put forward motions and proposals for renovating infrastructures in the old city zone and strengthening protection of cultural relics there, according to Chimed Tsering.

"It's not a proposal of my own, it is the reflection of the aspiration of most of the residents in the old city zone," said Gamtsu, a deputy to the Lhasa city people's congress, the local legislative body.

Gamtsu said that there are problems with the water supply and drainage facilities in the old city zone and irregularities in electrical line connections, posing safety risks.

The Barkhor Street, with a history dating back to the seventh century, was originally a dirt road and was later built into a road with stone surface, said Dorje, deputy head of the Barkhor Street neighborhood committee.

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