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China provinces urged to go slow

Alarmed by the vaulting ambitions of many Chinese provinces to grow at all costs, China's top economic chief is pleading with officials to calm down and spare a thought for the environment.

business Updated: Jan 06, 2011 22:33 IST

Alarmed by the vaulting ambitions of many Chinese provinces to grow at all costs, China's top economic chief is pleading with officials to calm down and spare a thought for the environment.

Zhang Ping, who heads China's national development and reform commission, the central economic planning agency, said only five or six of China's 30 provinces are targeting annual economic growth of 8% or 9%.

The remaining provinces are aiming for growth rates of more than 10% this year, with some even wanting to double economic output in the coming five years.

"China has a planned energy supply of about 4 billion cubic tonnes of coal equivalent for the next five years, and this is not enough to meet demands for economic growth to double," he was quoted as saying on the news portal Sina.com.

Beijing is increasingly exasperated by the ambitions of Chinese provinces across the country to chase high-octane growth despite the central government's pleas for a more moderate and sustainable pace of expansion.

Years of break-neck growth have taken a toll on China's environment, with Beijing trying to undo some of the damage now. It has an annual growth target of 7% for the next five years, well down from last year's 10%.

Zhang said Beijing has asked local governments to take into account the supply of "energy, environment, water and land" to set more reasonable growth targets.