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BUILDING & ENGINEERING | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Here's the real deal behind Sichuan reconstruction project delay

Was there really a misuse of funds?

According to a report, the Government said today the project fell behind schedule due to a dispute between the contractor and a subcontractor of the China Conservation & Research Centre for Giant Pandas.

The report also noted that the delay of a Hong Kong Government funded reconstruction project in Sichuan was not due to misuse of public funds and arrears of wages by the contractor.

Here's more from the report:

In response to a media report today on the Wolong Nature Reserve projects, the Government said the latter had not paid wages as a negotiation tactic.

After intervention by the Sichuan government, the dispute was settled in a timely manner. The Sichuan Government has not received any similar complaints.

For the Wolong projects, the Sichuan government has a mechanism in place requiring contractors set aside a deposit or provide guarantees to ensure workers are paid on time.

Apart from setting up a complaint hotline and conducting regular inspections, the responsible department of the Sichuan government conducted audits on the payment of wages by construction firms in the area to safeguard workers.

Wolong was severely damaged in the Wenchuan earthquake. The Hong Kong Government funded 23 reconstruction projects in the area, covering infrastructure, community, conservation and research facilities with a total commitment of $1.58 billion.

By the end of last month, 14 projects were completed. The remaining projects will be completed progressively towards the end of this year.

The reconstructed facilities in Wolong, such as schools and hospitals, withstood the April 20 Lushan earthquake. None were damaged.

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