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Influx of migrants leads SMPC to call for better planning

2014-01-21 08:52 Global Times Web Editor: Li Yan

Shanghai Municipal People's Congress (SMPC) delegates from Yangpu and Minhang districts called for measures to make the population influx and urbanization take place in a planned and orderly fashion to deal with the pressures brought on by the city's growing population.

The proposal, which was put forward by 81 delegates from several districts, suggests that the municipal government should adopt comprehensive measures to promote residential dispersal to alleviate stress on the local hospitals, schools and other public resources in overpopulated areas.

The proposal echoed a government report in which Shanghai Mayor Yang Xiong said that the government will control the overall population and continue the implementation of a residency system based on a point system, as rapid population growth has strained the land and the environment.

Shanghai's population reached 23.8 million by 2012, including 9.6 million people from other areas of China, accounting for 40 percent of the total population, the proposal said.

"Research shows that Shanghai's population should be capped at 26 million, considering the city's area, natural resources and urban facilities. If the population continues to grow without rational planning and proper controls, Shanghai will lose its appeal and competitiveness, not to mention its ability to attract foreign companies to invest here," said Li Yiming, an SMPC delegate from Yangpu district who put forward the proposal.

Many problems, such as traffic, a growing crime rate, and shortages of schools, hospitals and parking lots, stem from population growth that has outpaced infrastructure construction.

Li said residence permits should be given to those who have stable jobs in the city, rather than those with temporary jobs.

Shanghai should also develop more satellite towns close to downtown to help absorb migrants.

"Controlling the population influx doesn't mean that the city doesn't welcome people from other places. It's not that the city only needs talent from overseas, but skilled laborers as well," said Yu Yue, an SMPC delegate and deputy director of the Songjiang District Commission of Health and Family Planning.

Yu told the Global Times that the government should go beyond looking at the total number of inhabitants and pay closer attention to the quality and composition of the population.

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