Last year Hoechang County of South Phyongan Province ranked as one of the best units and was highly appreciated in the national meeting to sum up the forest restoration campaign and general mobilization campaign for land administration and the judgment of cities and counties over comprehensive regional development.
The Pyongyang Times reporter Yun Kyong Il interviewed chairman Kim In Chol, vice-chairman Kim Yong Su and department director Kwon Chang Man of the county people’s committee about the growth prospects of Hoechang County.
Recently your county ranked high at the national reviews for regional development in succession. I want to know what the key to success is.
Kim In Chol: The secret is that our county achieves its development to suit its regional features.
As you know our county is in the central part of the DPRK. Over 80 percent of its areas are covered with forests with steep slope and the areas 200-800 metres above sea level make up over 90 percent. And over a dozen large and small rivers flow in it with a total length of over 180 kilometres.
The county designs its healthy development with the main emphasis placed on making effective use of forests and rivers.
It has introduced a forest-in-charge management system involving all its institutions, enterprises and residents as part of an effort to turn all the mountains into useful ones. In applying the system it ensured that half of the income from it is paid to it and the rest of it goes to those in charge to effectively provide the forest resources while benefitting the tenders as well. As a result, all the mountains in the county are thickly wooded with chestnut, pine nut and other good species of trees. Millions of trees have been planted this spring. The planned 10-year afforestation goals will be attained this year and then we will launch into the forest transformation campaign, the next-stage goal. Seedling production is going on successfully as part of its preparations.
A great deal of energies have also been directed to forest protection as well as afforestation to make the green forests which were planted with great efforts thicker with the passage of time. Dense forests are beneficial to the county population as they help prevent flood damage and the loss of soil. And the rich harvest of wild fruits from the forests are used to improve the people’s livelihood. At the moment the local industry factories have a large stock of raw materials for production.
Kim Yong Su: We’ve also alleviated the shortage of electric power, an essential prerequisite of economic growth.
The county has pushed ahead with power station construction projects on the small rivers for over 20 years. Several power stations have already been built including Jongsan power station units 1 and 3 and the Ryangjong Youth Power Station.
At the same time it equipped institutions, enterprises and residential districts in the county with coal gasification generators and power generation facilities based on solar panels to establish double and triple power supply systems. As a result, the county’s total power output far exceeds several thousand kWh and it is enough to satisfy the needs for electricity in local industry factories and households.
Will you explain what the real benefits of the conservation of forests and rivers the county population enjoys are?
Kwon Chang Man: We can cite the supply of essential consumer goods before anything else.
The county provides all families with soybean sauce and paste, soap, toilet paper and other daily necessities every month.
The local industry factories meet the needs for all kinds of bowls, dishes and other containers, furniture, desks and chairs and school fixtures with their products.
The county also fills the need for power at institutions, industrial establishments and families with electricity generated at its minor power stations without relying on the national grid.
The county has achieved marked successes in land administration and fish farming, hasn’t it?
Kim Yong Su: Yes, it has. It stepped up the technical upgrading to bring all roads up to the standard. It also provided safety facilities and built retaining walls in every bend of its many mountain passes that connect it to other regions to improve road safety.
Nearly 30 big and small bridges were newly built or reconstructed to make them wider and heavy-duty and ensure traffic safety.
Mobile flowerpot stands and those in various shapes were set up along with flower beds and flowerpot stands in streets and parks and on bridges to decorate them with flowering plants.
Kindergartens and schools in the county were modernly renovated and cosy and cultured single-storey houses built in several rural communities.
Kwon Chang Man: Our county built a breed fish farm several years ago and secured various species of fishes including carp, Ryongjong fish, rainbow trout and grass fish. Tens of thousands of fries were produced there and supplied to factories, enterprises and farms in the county last year.
Would you mind telling me about the future development prospects of the county?
Kim In Chol: We will work hard to provide the county population with much more substantial benefits.
First of all, we will put steady efforts into turning all mountains in the county into strategic resources which will bring more profits to the economic growth and improvement of the people’s living standards. To this end, we will plant several thousand hectares of pine nut forests and hundreds of hectares of Evodia daniellii forests and grow sunflower and castor-oil plants in a large area to provide raw materials for the local industry factories properly in the period of the new five-year plan for national economic development.
Multi-storey apartment houses for over 200 families are to be built in the township area and other modern dwelling houses in the rural communities this year to hit the phased goals in the new five-year plan. The reconstruction of the county water supply network will also be completed this year.
At the same time, minor power stations will supply enough electric power to local industry factories and families. Due attention will also be paid to the development of fish farming.