Sun, Mar 14, 2004 - Page 2 News List

DPP blasts `black-gold' legacy

STENCH OF CORRUPTION The Pali sewage treatment plant has never been used, but it cost NT$4.8 billion to build and sparked allegations of cronyism and graft


A sightseeing activity was carried out by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to six massive sludge digestion tanks outside a sewage treatment plant in Pali, Taipei County, yesterday to illustrate the effects of "black-gold" culture.

A skit was performed by DPP staffers and volunteers in front of the expensive plant, construction of which was started in 1992 amid a controversy about the discovery of a historical iron-smelting site on the proposed area covering 45 hectares of land in Pali.

According to DPP staffers, the plant could be the largest landmark symbolizing black-gold politics involving the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). The plant's digestion tanks cost only NT$1.7 million but NT$4.8 billion of taxpayers' money was spent on the project, according to the DPP. Then-KMT legislator Wu Tzer-yuan (伍澤元) was accused by the DPP of reapportioning the budget when he headed the Taiwan Provincial Government (台灣省住都局), which was in charge of sewage treatment.

A performer playing the role of Wu, thanked two others performers playing the roles of KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) because "a black-gold miracle was jointly created."

DPP Legislator Lee Wen-chung (李文忠) said that the six tanks were completed in 1994 but had never been used.

"Wu was prosecuted not only because of this case but also because of another one surrounding a pumping station. He had no choice but to flee to China," Lee said.

The sewage-treatment plant was built by the Taipei City Government to solve pollution problems in the Tamshui River. The first phase of the Great Taipei sewage treatment project cost NT$10.2 million. It was designed to treat about 1.3 million tonnes of sewage a day from Taipei City, Taipei County and Keelung City. The trial was conducted in January 2000, but an official operation was suspended in June, 2001 because the Taipei County Government owned NT$228 million in operating fees.

In response PFP Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said that the suspension of the plant could be attributed to Taipei County Government, which is reluctant to complete the construction of new sewage pipes.

"How can we have all sewage sent to the plant for further treatment?" Lee Hung-chun said.

Yesterday in Keelung, the DPP also accused the pan-blue camp of involvement in black-gold politics. In front of Keelung Train Station, another skit was played out by DPP supporters.

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