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April 9, 2014

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New construction agency promises 2-hour solution to public complaints

THE new Shanghai Construction Commission has promised to act first and ask questions later when it comes to resolving problems that cause distress to the public.

“We have set up a rapid response system whose first priority is to solve problems,” Tang Zhiping, the commission’s director, said in an interview with a local radio station.

“We can decide later which government body should be responsible for the matter,” he said.

Problems such as open manholes, construction waste left on sidewalks and unlicensed street stalls will be tackled within two hours of the commission receiving a call via its 12319 hotline, Tang said.

The new agency, which until last week formed part of the Shanghai Urban Construction and Communications Commission, will also suspend construction work at sites that generate noise pollution within two hours of receiving a call, he said.

Local people have long complained that problems such as missing manhole covers go unresolved as government departments squabble among themselves but ultimately fail to act.

“Some government bodies try to avoid dealing with problems like missing manhole covers, especially if it’s an old one and it’s hard to identify who should take responsibility for it,” he said.

Shanghai has about 6.5 million manholes, and 19 agencies, including the water, telecommunications and electricity authorities, are responsible for them, Tang said.

So instead of procrastinating, the commission will have a new cover fitted in two hours and deal with the bigger issue later, he said.

Warning for dumpers

Aside from dealing with holes in the road, the commission also promises a two-hour service to people who report the dumping of construction waste on the sidewalk, Tang said.

Unscrupulous construction companies sometimes dump waste rather than paying to have it properly removed, he said.

While the local government offers rewards of 1,000 yuan (US$161) for photographic evidence of dumping, Tang said the incentive policy fails to resolve the issue.

From now on, the commission will first arrange for the waste to be removed before figuring out who left it, he said, adding that the fines for dumping will be increased significantly to serve as a deterrent.

No more noise

The dynamic new agency has also set its sights on the problem of noise pollution, Tang said.

While the commission has already delayed the permitted start time to 8am from 6am at sites inside the Middle Ring Road and within 100 meters of a residential area, officials will now order the cessation of all works within two hours of receiving a complaint about noise.

Meanwhile, the commission said it plans this year to relocate about 24,000 people living in dilapidated homes and demolish 550,000 square meters of aging properties.

It will also consider the use of corporate bonds and insurance funds to help district governments fund the relocations, Tang said.


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