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Chen Chu: many city agencies not aware of LCY lines
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-08-07 03:24 PM
Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu acknowledged that the city’s Light Rail Transit Authority had been informed of pipelines carrying petroleum and chemical products lay underground near the proposed Light Rail Transit route through the city. One of the lines in the area, believed to be a propylene line owned by LCY Chemical, leaked and caused the series of explosions that rocked the downtown area of Kaohsiung last Thursday evening,

Mayor Chen apologized for the lack of communication between the Light Rail Transit Authority and other elements of the city government but insisted that officials had not been lying when they said they did not know about the pipelines.

A Chinese-language newspaper carried an article Wednesday saying that the Kaohsiung MRT Engineering Bureau was informed of the pipeline as a part of the information provided for a planning session for a light rail line. The paper had accused government officials of lying when they said that they had no information on the existence of the lines.

Mayor Chen told reporters present at a disaster update meeting Wednesday that the communications oversight was a serious mistake but stressed, "No one was lying. "

Chen bowed deeply and said she was apologizing on behalf of everyone in government.

Yang Ming-chou, the director of the Kaohsiung Bureau of Public Works (BPW), confirmed that the pipelines did not show up in any of the map data maintained in the bureau’s offices. He admitted, however, that it was reasonable to expect that various units in the government would provide map data to each other in order to ensure that records are accurate and up-to-date.

Su Lung-hwa, Planning Director for the BPW, noted that the agency charges fees for usage rights for pipelines located near city streets. At the same time, however, the fact that LCY has paid road usage fees, does not mean that the city government was aware that the company had lines in the neighborhood where the blasts occurred.

Su said the city collects pipeline fees of about NT$170 million annually and the sheer volume of the data involved makes it difficult to keep track of specific records.

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