"Data gathering and studies for the relocation site have been conducted for a year and a half. Also, 80 experts reviewed the candidate sites. The results are valid as long as there are no particular problems in the evaluation", said Kwon Yong-woo, professor at Sungshin Women's University and chairman of the evaluation committee. Janggi-myeon in Yeongi-Gongju was also considered by the late president Park Chung-hee when he was pursuing the relocation of the capital prior to his death in 1979.
The other two candidates - Cheonan in South Chungcheong Province and Chinchon-Eumseong - jincheon in North Chungcheong Province - received 75.02 and 66.87 points, respectively.
The evaluation was done based on five main categories and 20 sub-categories. The five main classifications included the effect on balanced national development, accessibility to the site from other parts of the country, environmental impact, natural setting for livelihood, and development costs and economic efficiency.
"The Yeongi-Gongju area, whose land size is 71.28 million square meters, received relatively higher marks in all of the five categories", Kwon said. "Gongju-Nonsan won higher points in economic efficiency than Yeongi-Gongju, but it failed to get better ratings in other categories" As the government has now revealed the evaluation results and Yeongi-Gongju is likely to become the final site, it is proceeding to recalculate costs in the construction of the new administrative capital.
The government's initial estimation for relocation costs was some 45.6 trillion won to accommodate a population of 500,000 and most major public bodies on about 75.9 million square meters.
However, the government is expected to face tougher objections from the opposition parties and non-governmental organizations, as they raised their voices to demand the government to prove the legitimacy of the relocation plan.
The main opposition Grand National Party (GNP) kept demanding a special committee be formedin the National Assembly to examine the reasonableness of the relocation project, blaming the government for pushing it without having undergone the appropriate processes for national consent.
"The relocation project has to be suspended as there is no consent from the public, not even within the government itself", a GNP official said. "The government needs to change its attitude and hold public hearings and discussion sessions, where citizens and nongovernmental organizations participate, while establishing a special committee in the National Assembly."
/ By Korea Times