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November 20, 2009

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Blighted villagers may be on move

VILLAGERS living just 100 meters from a quarry in southern China's Guangdong Province are hoping to be relocated after local government took note of their protests.

Residents had complained about clouds of dust resulting from granite processing and said explosions to split the rock had caused cracks in their houses.

When work at the quarry was suspended in March last year after an accident, youngsters from Honglian Village in Nanping Town of Guangdong's Zhuhai City tried to prevent it resuming production by patrolling the site on their motorcycles.

Elderly people had even tried to block trucks transporting granite products from the pit, the Guangdong provincial Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis Daily reported yesterday.

The problem had been going on for over 10 years.

Clouds of white dust had hit the village of some 200 people every night because mining companies carried out explosions during the day and processed the granite at night.

Green trees

A granite hill close to the village was acquired by the local government in 1985.

Before the mining companies arrived in the late 1990s, the hill and areas around were covered by green trees and provided a home for many birds and small animals.

"We had enjoyed fresh air and fruits picked from trees," said one villager.

"Workers from neighboring industry zones flocked to our village to rent houses," another said.

However, both fruit trees and tenants had disappeared since granite extraction had begun.

Because of the deterioration in the environment, many tenants had moved away, which caused a heavy loss to villagers as their income depended heavily on renting properties, said a neighborhood committee official.

Now the local government has suggested that the best way to settle the dispute would be to move the whole village to another site.

No details of these plans have yet been made available, the newspaper said.


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