Construction of the most difficult section of the world's longest and highest railway across the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau will begin next year.
The leading panel of the construction of the Qinghai-Tibet railway decided Wednesday that 190 kilometers of track will be laid through the Dangla Mountains in the east of Tibet in 2003. The highest spot on the railway will be 5,072 meters above the sea level.
The track to be built will run through a 550-kilometer stretch of permafrost earth known for its harsh natural conditions and atrocious weather.
Zeng Peiyan, Minister in Charge of the State Development Planning Commission, said the government would invest 5.6 billion yuan (US$677 million) in the construction of the Qinghai-Tibet railway next year.
The Qinghai-Tibet railway stretches 1,118 kilometers from Gormoin Qinghai Province to Lhasa in Tibet Autonomous Region. The total investment in the construction is 36 billion yuan. Construction began in June, 2001, and is expected to be completed in 2007.
The government invested 5.3 billion yuan in building the railway in 2002, completing 121 kilometers of track.
(Xinhua News Agency December 13, 2002)