BEIJING: China says it will press ahead with the construction of a 110-km-long highway in Tibet to Mt Everest and will not rule out building hotels in future in the fragile Himalayan region.
Construction of a highway on Mt Everest will be completed before August 2008, in time for the Beijing Olympics Games, chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Regional government, Qiangba Puncog, told reporters at a press conference covered by the Times of India.
"We'll ensure completion of the road by all means by next August," he said.
The project aims to turn a 110-km rough road linking Tingri County of Xigaze Prefecture at the foot of the mountain to the Base Camp into a blacktop highway fenced by undulating guardrails.
On completion, the highway will become the major route for tourists and mountaineers who are crowding onto Mt Qomolangma (Chinese name for Mt Everest) in ever-larger numbers.
"More tourists are flocking into the Qomolangma Base Camp in the recent two years," said Puncog. "Tourists from Europe and America in particular like to have a glimpse of the Mount Qomolangma."
Some of the tourists, he said, had complained the road there was in poor condition and unsafe.
Organisers of the Beijing Olympics Games recently revealed plans for the longest torch relay in Olympic history -- a 137,000-km, 130-day route that would cross five continents and scale the world's summit, which straddles the border between China and Nepal.
Report from the Times of India
Thursday, June 21, 2007