Shortcut to Tibet; China’s new ambitious railway project worth over $36 billion
DHARAMSALA, Oct 11: China has announced yet another ambitious mega-project to make Tibet, hidden in the majestic Himalayas more accessible and cut travel time by over 30 hours.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has reportedly announced the start of The ambitious Sichuan-Tibet railway project worth 250-billion-yuan ($36.16 billion) on Wednesday at a meeting in Beijing.
“It was of profound significance for the country’s long-term stability and the development of Tibet,” the Chinese President was reported to have said at the meeting.
At the meeting, discussions were also held to emphasize on the planning and construction of the Sichuan-Tibet railway which will run from Chengdu, capital of Southwest China’s Sichuan Province to Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, media reports said.
The communist regime has also stated that the ambitious railway project will promote ethnic solidarity, safeguard national unity and consolidate the stability of the frontier, as well as bolster Tibet’s economic and social development.
The ambitious Sichuan-Tibet railway project, that is 1,700-kilometers long is expected to be completed by 2026. Once completed, trains can run at the speed of 160 and 200 kilometres per hour and it will cut the travel time by train from Chengdu to Lhasa from 48 hours to about 13 hours.
Though China has maintained that the project will promote ethnic solidarity, safeguard national unity and consolidate the stability of the frontier, as well as bolster Tibet’s economic and social development, the Chinese regime has for long carried out ill-advised developmental projects across the Tibetan plateau at the cost of the fragile Tibetan environment.
The ambitious railway project which serves as the shortcut to the Tibet will have 34 intermediate stations and go through eight ascents and descents. While more than 80 per cent of the line will be tunnels and bridges.
The line will also pass through Tanggula Pass, the world’s highest point on any railway at 5,072 meters above sea level and the two of the 14 mountains the new line will pass through are said to be higher than 4,800-meters. Experts and activists have expressed their concern that construction of such projects in Tibet threatens its fragile high-altitude environment. The Sichuan-Tibet Railway is the second railway to Tibet after the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.