The world's largest hydropower project, the Three Gorges Project, is ready for the third and final six-year phase of construction to begin next year, said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao Friday.
The second phase of the Three Gorges Project was completed as scheduled with the operation of four power generating units in August.
Premier Wen told the 13th session of the State Council Three Gorges Project Construction Committee that the tasks in the third phase of the project will still be hard despite the success of the second phase.
From 2004 to the end of 2009, the construction of the dam and power station workshops will be going on and most of the hydropower generating units and related high-voltage electrical apparatuses would also be installed.
Wen vowed that the country will make every effort to improve the living standards of residents and boost the economy in the Three Gorges area.
The government will keep putting forward preferential policies and practical measures to better finance the area's economic development while urging governments of other provinces and regions to offer help, he added.
Over 400,000 people in the reservoir areas are awaiting relocation in the next six years, and over 720,000 residents have already been relocated.
The country will impose rigid supervision on the quality of construction and guarantee the safety of workers by improving security measures and management, the premier said.
In the third phase of the project, 3,100-km alternating current lines and 2,000-km direct current lines as well as an expansion in power transformer and inversion capacities will be built.
While the third phase construction is moving on, efforts will be made to protect the environment in the reservoir area and reduce the damage of natural disasters, Wen said.
The country will keep dealing with water pollution and preserving natural forests in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River while building a monitoring network for the environment of the reservoir area, he added.
The management of the use of the reservoir and channels as well as shipping and tourism in the area will be further improved, he said.
The Three Gorges Project, with a total investment of 180 billion yuan (US$21.77 billion), started in 1993 and is scheduled for completion in 2009.
(Xinhua News Agency September 5, 2003)