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February 10, 2012

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Power station halted after protest

THE construction of a major power substation planned near residential complexes has been temporarily halted after about 70 people - among 2,000-plus residents objecting to the project - started a protest at Yangpu District government offices yesterday.

The protesters complained to Shanghai Daily that construction of the 220-kilovolt transformer substation near the crossing of Guoquan Road and Sanmen Road in Yangpu District was started on Wednesday despite objections of the residents living nearby.

The protest followed an incident at the station's construction site on Wednesday night when about 40 angry residents, believing the project would harm their health and doubting its legality, tore down a construction wall and clashed with a batch of 10-plus security workers, said 44-year-old Mary Luo.

Luo and the 2,000-plus residents, with many claiming to be teachers at Tongji University, which is also located in the area, said they feared that the station may bring negative effects or even fatal diseases as the site is only 300 to 400 meters away from their homes.

Many said they had written letters or called the local power company asking whether their health would be affected, but they received no replies, which further worried them.

"Some of the residents are working for local transformer substations, and they joined the protest because they said the station would be bad for us in the long term," said Luo.

"We have spent almost all the savings of our lifetime to buy the apartments, and so we will defend our home by all means," she said.

As they protested at the government facility yesterday holding banners saying "NO to the substation," government officials finally agreed to temporarily halt the construction. They invited the protesters to send representatives for negotiation next week, protesters said.

An official surnamed Li with Shanghai Power Electric Co told Shanghai Daily that residents' worries are totally unnecessary, as he believed the substation will not bring any harm at all.

"According to previous examples or data, we haven't found the connection between the locations of transformer substations with certain diseases to nearby residents," said Li, adding that the company will soon try to calm residents by offering lectures to inform them of the station's effects.


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