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Reconstruction in Sichuan quake zone still top priority: top legislator

CHENGDU, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Top legislator Wu Bangguo has told authorities in Sichuan Province that post-quake reconstruction should continue to be the top priority.

Wu, chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, made the remarks when visiting the quake zone in southwest China from May 20 to 24. The 8-magnitude quake on May 12, 2008, has left more than 80,000 people dead or missing.

"Restoration and reconstruction in the quake zone must continue to be on top of Sichuan's economic and social development agenda," Wu said.

He said efforts should be made to build the quake zone into a new economic growth engine, as well as a model of the changing development pattern and model for low-carbon usage.

Visiting rebuilt communities, schools and factories, Wu told local authorities to ensure the quality and safety of reconstruction projects and stressed the supervision of reconstruction funds.

Permanent residential houses for more than 5.3 million households have been rebuilt since the quake, as well as 86 percent of the schools.

He also said governments in the quake-hit areas should work closely with development partner provinces and cities, and accelerate industrial upgrading.

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