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Probe of reports rail line built by unskilled labourersAlice Yan23 October 2011The Ministry of Railways is investigating work on building a railway in Jilin after state media reported it involved unskilled labourers and substandard materials.The unskilled labourers were contracted to build three sections of a 2.3 billion yuan (HK$2.8 billion) line through the counties of Jingyu and Fusong in the northeastern province, according to Xinhua. Bridge pier bases were built using concrete that had been mixed with stone and sand, it reported.One worker told Xinhua: “When I saw they were pouring stones into the bases, I asked not to be involved. I don’t want to board any trains on this line when it gets up and running.”China Railway No9 Group won the contract to build the line in 2009, but divided the project into several sections, all of which it had subcontracted out.One of those subcontractors was Jiangxi-based Changxia Construction Engineering Group. It was to build two bridges over the Songhua River and a tunnel in Shengli village, but it subcontracted the work to unqualified teams of migrant labourers, Xinhua reported.It is illegal to outsource construction projects.Lu Tianbo was once a chef who ran a restaurant before he started building roads. He had no experience in bridge construction, but told Xinhua he signed a contract to work on one of the river bridges last year.The contractors building the other river bridge were also new to such work, and none of their qualifications had been checked, Lu said. Project managers had signed off on quality checks of some of the structures, even though the pier bases contained stones and sand, he said.Furious internet users said subcontracting was a common practice and that many projects had been built by unskilled workers.
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