Published: Wednesday 31 January 1996

-- China is going ahead with its plans to build the Three Gorges dam billed as the world's largest water- control project on Yangtze river, despite concerns raised by environmentalists. They have voiced fears about the fate of millions of people who would be displaced forcibly. Besides, the dam would destroy their cultural and environmental assets. There are also misgivings about the safety of the dam. Experts claim that silting of the dam will reduce its effectiveness and possibly damage important fishing grounds at the mouth of the Yangtze by cutting short their nitrogen and phosphorus supply. The Chinese government, however, stifles all criticism through its mouthpiece, Xinhua news agency. The government will be spending US $4.8 billion on the resettlement of the soon-to-be displaced people. According to Tang Dengquing, a senior engineer with the ministry of water resources who spent almost 40 years of research on the project, the dam will reduce the pollution caused by thermal power stations.

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