Prime Minister ​Nguyen Xuan Phuc talks to ethnic students of Bao Lam Boarding School during his visit to Cao Bang Province’s (Photo: VNA)

Cao Bang (VNA) - Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked authorities in the northern mountainous province of Cao Bang, and in Tra Linh district in particular, to ensure a happy Tet (Lunar New Year) for everyone, especially the underprivileged.

During a visit to the mountain border district on January 8, the Prime Minister spent time talking to local officials and ethnic minority inhabitants. He stressed that the key task of the locality was to ease the high rate of poverty in the area.

Sharing a 26km terrestrial border with China, Tra Linh has a poverty rate of 36 percent.

PM Phuc agreed with a proposal put forth by local authorities for an urban development plan at Tra Linh National Border Gate. He instructed them to take into account the development planning in line with environmental protection and respect for people’s living conditions.

According to the Prime Minister, developing services is the right direction for Cao Bang province, in general, and Tra Linh district, in particular, which is consistent with the locality’s advantage of a long contiguous border with China.

“Building the Tra Linh Border Gate into an international border gate is an important direction but needs to be conducted synchronously with strong commodity exports to attract trade,” Phuc said.

The total value of goods imported through the Tra Linh Border Gate in 2011 reached 65 million USD, but increased to 500 million USD last year.

The Prime Minister also noted that government at all levels in the province and the district should pay more attention to the prevention and combating smuggling and commercial fraud. He also underscored authorities’ responsibility for vigilance against hostile forces taking advantage, inciting or inducing people to destroy the region’s peaceful life.

He presented 100 gifts to poor households in the district.

Also on January 8, PM Phuc visited and talked to officers and soldiers at Tra Linh Border Gate Station, the unit in charge of protecting the border between Vietnam and China.

Listening to the difficulties and hardships of officers and soldiers at the station, PM Phuc urged the unit to overcome obstacles and carry out the task of protecting the national border.

The PM also requested the unit to actively engage in preventing smuggling, trade fraud and drug trafficking, especially during the upcoming Tet.

PM Phuc also paid a visit to the Ly Bon Commune in Cao Bang’s Bao Lam district. Bao Lam district has a poverty rate of above 60 percent, while Ly Bon commune’s poverty rate is above 34 percent. The population of 59,000 are mainly ethnic H’mong, Tay, Nung, Dao, San Chi and Kinh.

The PM noted that Bao Lam district was the poorest, most remote, most isolated and most populated by ethnic minorities. He asked authorities to focus on helping farmers reduce poverty.

“Besides the support of the State, including the capital loans from the Bank of Vietnam for Social Policies, each household should strive to escape from poverty,” he said. “In addition, the district should maintain and promote ethnic solidarity, preserve order and security, preserve and promote the traditional culture of ethnic minorities,” he said.

The Prime Minister also agreed to support the construction of the Ly Bon Commune’s office station, as this is the last commune of the district without an office. He also agreed to mobilise ambulances for Bao Lam District.

Regarding 803 households in Ly Bon commune which don’t have access to electricity, the PM assigned Electricity of Vietnam to handle the problem.

On this occasion, the Prime Minister presented 100 gifts from the Vietnam Red Cross to poor households in the commune.

PM Phuc also attended the inauguration of hydropower plant Bao Lam 1 in Ly Bon commune. The plant has a capacity of 30MW and power output of about 124 million kWh per year.-VNA