The regional government of China's Tibet Autonomous Region will spend 8 billion yuan (about $1.18 billion) to finance infrastructure projects in rural areas in 2009 and 2010.
Puqung, a Tibetan official who serves as a deputy with the regional commission of development and reform, made the announcement Wednesday while addressing members of the regional committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
The money will be used to provide safe drinking water to all of the region's 1.07 million farmers and herders. Currently, 850,000 have access to safe water.
Telephone service is only available now in 3,421 villages, accounting for 58 percent of the total. The money will also be used to expand phone service to every village in the next two years.
As for energy, Puqung said marsh gas is being used in 150,000 homes. By 2010, it will be in 200,000 homes.
The rest of the billion yuan will go towards improving postal service and highway construction. Roads now connect 59 percent of villages across the region.
Tibet has a population of 2.88 million, of whom, 85 percent are farmers and herders.
(Xinhua News Agency January 18, 2009)