Electricity Grid Construction Benefits Rural Tibetans

Monday, December 12, 2005

Cuchim Tayai, a villager in Keyu Village in Linzhou County in Lhasa, had used butter lamps like generations of his ancestors. Only after the second-phase of electricity grid construction in Tibet did he come to know electricity for the first time.

“My daughter now can do her homework without suffering from lamp smoke. We have TV sets, VCDs and electric appliances to make buttered tea,” Cuchim Tayai said.

Cuchim Tayai is among tens of thousands of farmers and herdsmen benefiting from the ongoing electricity grid construction in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.

The central government has set aside 2.53 billion yuan (US$316 million) for the rural electricity grid construction and renovation project, said Qamba Xerab, deputy director of the traffic and energy department under the Tibet Autonomous Regional Development and Reform Committee.

With the second phase of the project completed, approximately 1.6 million Tibetans are using electricity, doubling the figure before the project, he said.

About 60 percent of the Tibetans now have access to electricity, half living in rural areas, and about 1 million Tibetans have no access to electricity, he said.

The third phase of the project has been launched, involving 1 billion yuan (US$125 million), with an aim to extend power to about 270,000 people in 1,072 villages in 34 counties, said Wang Qinghua, director of Tibet Autonomous Regional Power Bureau.

“Without electric power, villagers started businesses and earned more income. For example, without electricity, most ducklings would die due to lack of warmth. Nowadays, with the help of electricity, 80 percent of the ducklings survive,” Cuchim Tayai said.

“Electricity makes life much better. We could never expect such colorful life years ago,” Cuchim Tayai said.

Source: Xinhua News Agency (link opens in a new window)