THREE GORGES DAM SITE, Hubei Province, May 20
(Xinhua) -- The major structure of the gigantic Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze
River, China's longest, was completed Saturday. The project, often compared to
the Great Wall in its scale, absorbed and benefited from a great amount of
opinions from opponents, which enabled its schemes to improve continuously.
"Naysayers contributed significantly to the Three
Gorges Project, "said Pan Jiazheng, head of the experts panel for the project
and academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of
Pan, together with another 50 or so members from the
panel, witnessed the completion of concrete placement for the Three Gorges Dam's
main wall Saturday.
"As for a project, it is not necessarily favorable if
there is no opposing opinions. The more naysayers, the more thorough and
detailed related researches and proofs may go," said Pan during an interview
Now in his 80s, Pan himself had been an opponent to
the Three Gorges project before he became a chief tech advisor for the
feasibility study on the project.
According to Pan, in the 1950s, debates centered on
China's financial and technological capabilities for the project. However, such
concerns have webbed gradually since the late 1980s, along with China's
endeavors to grow powerful economically and technologically.
In 1986, the Ministry of Water Resources invited 412
experts to start the feasibility study for the Three Gorges project, and Pan was
appointed the head of the group.
The Three Gorges project was approved by the National
People's Congress, China's top legislature, in April 1992, 38 years after
related researches and proof officially began in 1954.
Pan said, "Generations of scientists, both at home
and from abroad, participated in the planning, designing and consulting of the
"Opinions and proposals from those scientists,
including naysayers, were solicited. Views from opponents helped improve the
democratic and scientific decision for the project," Pan stressed.
He said in the process of proof, some experts and
scholars made researches on budgetary estimates for the project, future silting
in the project's reservoir, possibility for geographic disasters, including
earthquakes, the project may induce, cost of residents relocation and any effect
the project may have on ecosystem and environment. They also studied engineering
problems and technical means, advancing various proposals and opinions.
Some used to worry that the project would become a
siphon of funds. Actually, it has saved 20 billion yuan (2.5 billion U.S.
dollars) and managed to limit the total cost at approximately 180 billion yuan
(22.5 billion U.S. dollars).
"Not all of its generators have begun operation, but
the project has achieved an annual balance between expense and revenue," Pan
He said from 2006, annual income by the 14
operational sets of generators of the project will cover the funds allocated the
Central Government for the project in each of the coming years.
"Nothing on earth embraces advantages only. It is
imperative for us to maximize the advantages while minimize the disadvantages,"
Pan said. Enditem