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   Position :Tibet Human Rights > Message > Focus > Top 10 Ethnic Minority News of 2010
 
Galongla Tunnel:Blast links county to outer world
    Date:12-22-2010 Source:Xinhuanet Author:    

Tibetan journalist Cirencuomu, who hails from the autonomous region's Medog county, calls her family on Wednesday after tunnel workers blasted through the final section, linking the last remaining county to the national highway system. [Photo by Jueguo / Xinhua]
 

BOMI, Tibet - A history of isolation is set to end for the Tibetan county of Medog after workers successfully blasted through the last section of a mountain highway tunnel on Wednesday.

Medog, with a population of 11,000, is China's last county with no highway link to the outside world.

Teams from both ends of the tunnel met at 10:28 am after using 152 kg of explosives to blast through the remaining center section.

Medog county is located near the eastern section of the Himalaya Mountains.

Snow and rain make the mountain roads impassable for nine months of the year, and walking out of the mountains takes about 10 hours.

"It was a life-threatening adventure every time I crossed the mountains out of Medog," said Zhou Haitao, an official who worked in Medog for five years.

"Mudslides and avalanches are common on Galongla Mountain," Zhou said.

The 117-km Medog Highway will shorten the time dramatically as the journey through the 3,310-meter-long Galonga tunnel will take just half an hour.

"I can finally join my family during the Spring Festival," said Fang Hong, a Medog-born member of the Monba ethnic group, who works outside the county.

"My family wouldn't let me go home at the Spring Festival for fear of avalanches," Fang said. "With the tunnel, we don't need to worry any more."

Medog's economy relies mainly on agriculture, but transporting produce out of the county is difficult.

Poor infrastructure had hindered economic development in Tibet in the past, said Baima Chilin, chairman of the government of the Tibet autonomous region.

Tibet has built a 58,000-km highway network, which has boosted economic development, he said.

Workers use an excavator to clear explosive remnants after successfully blasting through the final section of the Galongla Tunnel in Bome county, Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, Dec 15, 2010. The Galongla Tunnel, built at an altitude of 3,750 meters, is a highway tunnel that links Tibet's Metok county to the outside world. It took more than two years to complete the construction. The highway is scheduled to open in 2011. Metok County, with a population of 11,000, is China's last county with no highway link. [Photo/Xinhua]

Cars make a trial run through the just completed Galongla Tunnel in Bome county, Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, Dec 15, 2010. [Photo/Xinhua]

Workers gather for a photo to mark the completion of the Galongla Tunnel in Bome county, Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, Dec 15, 2010. [Photo/Xinhua]

Cars make a trial run through the just completed Galongla Tunnel in Bome county, Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, Dec 15, 2010. [Photo/Xinhua]

Officials press the button for blasting the final section of the Galongla Tunnel in Bome county, Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, Dec 15, 2010. [Photo/Xinhua]

Heavy snow blankets the road outside the Galongla Tunnel in Bome county, Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, Dec 15, 2010. [Photo/Xinhua]

 
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