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November 30, 2009

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Minhang: We gave fair price in demolition

THE Minhang District government said over the weekend that it had offered favorable compensation before compelling the demolition of a local residence, and that the house owners had acted irrationally by throwing Molotov cocktails at the demolition crew.

The statements were in response to a recent China Central Television program that reported Pan Rong and her husband were offered only 673,000 yuan (US$98,536) to remove their four-story, 538-square-meter house to make way for the Hongqiao transportation hub.

The TV report provoked a rash of critical comments on the Internet.

"It isn't the fact," said Wu Zhongquan, director of the district's construction and transportation committee.

Wu said the compensation was larger than that reported by CCTV, and that a large area of the house had been built illegally in the first place.

According to Wu, the property was owned by local farmer Zhang Quanyu, Pan's father-in-law. In 2005, Zhang applied to the Huacao Township government for permission to rebuild the original run-down house, and was approved for a 200-square-meter replacement. But with the help of his son and daughter-in-law, he built a four-story building with 538.75 square meters, 338.75 meters over the legal limit.

The house was marked for relocation in late 2006. The relocation company offered more than 1.5 million yuan, Wu said.

In addition, the house owners are allowed to buy three apartments with a total area of 240 square meters in a community close to the Hongqiao airport for the low price 3,200 yuan per square meter. The current market price of the real estate in this place exceeds 10,000 yuan per square meter, Wu said.

If Zhang and his son bought the three apartments with the compensation money, there would still be more than 700,000 yuan left, Wu noted.

After Pan and her husband refused the compensation conditions despite repeated negotiations, the district government approved demolition, Wu said.


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