China-run power plant brings light, jobs to Georgia

Updated 2017-02-03 17:19:25 Xinhua

When people in China were enjoying family reunion in the Spring Festival holiday, some Chinese staff in a remote hydropower plant in northeastern Georgia could hardly relax and rejoice.

In fact, the traditional auspicious couplets pasted on the gate only increased homesickness for them, including Liu Hong, chief engineer of the Khadori Hydropower Plant located in the Pankisi Gorge in the gigantic Caucasus Mountains.

"Colleagues and I miss our family members very much, particularly at moments of big festivals," said Liu, who has spent eight Spring Festivals with his colleagues in the station, some three-hour drive away from Tbilisi.

Gu Rui, a senior advisor of the plant, has spent five Spring Festivals there.

Liu said that they were willing to stand loneliness in the desolate snow-covered gorge in order to send light to hundreds of thousands of households in Georgia.

The Khadori Hydropower Plant, with an installed capacity of 24 megawatts, was built and operated by the overseas subsidiary of China's State Grid Corp.

Completed in 2006, it is the first foreign-funded power station in Georgia.

To conduct routine inspection, workers usually have to trek through knee-deep snow or jump into biting pools in winter and wade across torrents in summer, even risking avalanches and floods sometimes.

"We choose to brave all the hardships and loneliness because we have made a commitment to keep the station well working and provide electricity to power-short Georgia," said Liu.

Thanks to these efforts, the Khadori Hydropower Plant has been operating smoothly for more than 4,000 days.

The plant has improved local people's life, said Giorge Aha Gumashivili, chief of Jokolo Village at the foot of the mountain.

"The station not only brings us light but also creates precious job opportunities, which have helped lift many people out of poverty," said Gumashivili, who is working in the plant together with his son and other fellow villagers.

"We work and live with the Chinese staff. They treat us like family," Gumashivili told Xinhua, adding that he hopes the friendship can be passed on to next generations.

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