(TibetanReview.net, Feb 11) – The Government of Sichuan Province is to spend 18 billion yuan (about US $2.6 billion) in four years to build 1,409 settlements covering a total area of 10 million square meters in 29 pastoral counties to settled down some 480,000 unsettled or poorly sheltered herdsmen and their families, reported the official Xinhuanet news agency Feb 10. It said the project would include construction of tent houses, stock sheds, heating sheepfolds, forage storages, community centres, schools, clinics, and other related facilities for drinking water, electricity, communication, broadcasting, and television. However, the Tibetans herdsmen would seem to have to bear the bulk of the cost of their resettlement, with the government only providing subsidies.
For construction fund for settlement houses, stock-sheds, heating sheepfolds and forage storages, each family (five people) will be granted a 10,000-yuan subsidies, the report said.
The report cited statistics as showing that among 112,000 families of 533,000 herdsmen, 88.6 percent were unsettled or only poorly sheltered, with most of them living in poorly equipped self-made tents. It cited a survey as showing that 97.83 percent of herdsmen were eager to settle down, with 98.14 percent being willing to build houses on their own. But with Tibetan nomads living and moving with their herds all year round and having very little monetary income, the survey and its result remains doubtful.