Beijing: China has relocated 1.27 million people to make way for the controversial Three Gorges Dam, the world`s largest hydroelectric project on the mighty Yangtze River, the state media reported.
The relocation task was "almost complete" through 17 years, said Lu Chun, deputy head of the office of the Three Gorges Project Construction Committee under the State Council, or the Cabinet, at a conference in Chongqing city.
The relocation of 1.27 million people till June involved 12 cities and county seats and 114 townships, Lu said.
Chinese officials have previously indicated that up to 1.4 million people could be forced to relocate from areas now submerged or due to be submerged along the 6,385 km-long Yangtze River in central China.
Meanwhile, 1,632 industrial and mining firms were shut down or moved, he said.
Critics of the mammoth dam have alleged massive corruption in the resettlement programme, while villagers forced to relocate have complained they were denied promised job retraining and resettlement funds.
The Three Gorges Project was launched in 1993 and it was designed to generate electricity and contain floods on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River.
With a total investment of about USD 26.36 billion, the project is scheduled for completion this year and is expected to generate 84.7 billion kwh of electricity annually.
At 2,309 metres wide and 185 metres high, the Three Gorges Dam in Hubei Province is the world`s largest.