Thu, Jun 14, 2007 - Page 3 News List

NT$100bn earmarked to renovate farming villages

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) yesterday introduced a plan to turn farming villages into "garden cities" with NT$100 billion (US$3 billion) earmarked for the project over the next 10 years.

"Most of the younger generations from farming villages have relocated to metropolitan areas to pursue careers. Their decision to leave their hometowns has left those places undeveloped," Chang said during yesterday's weekly Cabinet meeting

"We want to renovate these villages and turn them into `garden cities' of the future," he said.

To turn the plan into reality, the Cabinet yesterday approved an administrative order -- the "Plan for Rebuilding Farming Villages" and unveiled a proposal for a new law -- to back the plan.

While the proposed law must be submitted to the legislature, the plan can be implemented immediately because it is covered by the administrative order, which does not require legislative approval.

Chang said the plan would help farming villages improve the daily lives of farmers, including new residential buildings, sewage systems, parks and public services.

"We hope to construct more `garden cities,'" he said.

"Our estimates show that more than 500,000 households in farming villages would benefit from the plan," he said.

Chang said that the Cabinet was planning to spend the NT$100 billion within a decade to renovate more than 4,000 farming villages nationwide.

"Now that the high speed rail system is finished, anyone can travel from one place in Taiwan to another within a day. Improved transportation would make it easier for farming villages to become more developed in terms of the environment and public construction," he said.

"Our bottom line is that this plan will not jeopardize our remaining agricultural production," Chang said.

"It is the government's responsibility to improve the lives of farmers," he said.

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