Ge­o­log­i­cal worker ‘ready for hard­ship, happy to con­trib­ute’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By HOU LIQIANG in Bei­jing and DAQIONG in Lhasa

Edi­tor’s note: As the 19th Na­tional Congress of the Com­mu­nist Party of China nears, a to­tal of 2,287 del­e­gates to the event have been elected. They come from all walks of life, with a large pro­por­tion hav­ing made a spe­cial con­tri­bu­tion in their jobs. This is the first in a se­ries of re­ports fo­cus­ing on the del­e­gates’ sto­ries.

Most peo­ple have dif­fi­culty reach­ing an al­ti­tude of 5,000 me­ters. For Jampa Tashi, a del­e­gate to the 19th Na­tional Congress of the Com­mu­nist Party of China, how­ever, he has even more to bear as a driller. Ge­o­log­i­cal driller in Ti­bet

Ev­ery year, the 45-yearold from the Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey of Ti­bet spends six to eight months above that al­ti­tude, work­ing 12 hours a day, six days a week.

Each time Jampa Tashi, who joined the Party in 2007, heads to a new work­place, he has to be well pre­pared. His truck, which is loaded with more than 10 met­ric tons of drilling equip­ment for min­ing and ge­o­log­i­cal sur­veys, of­ten has to wind across ter­rain with no roads.

In the rainy sea­son, ve­hi­cles can eas­ily get bogged down. Once in the 1990s, Jampa Tashi and his col­leagues only man­aged to pull out their trapped truck after seven days.

“Our big tent, which is used as shel­ter in the work­place, was un­der some heavy equip­ment and we couldn’t get it out. We had to sleep in the open air. When it rained, we used a plas­tic sheet to set up a shel­ter,” he re­called.

It can be hard to pull the ve­hi­cle out in some ar­eas of north­ern Ti­bet, as it’s dif­fi­cult to find stones big enough to give the wheels solid ground.

When trapped, he and his col­leagues could eat only bis­cuits, bread and pre­served veg­eta­bles, as they may be un­able to find dry wood to start a fire to cook.

He said the work­ing con­di­tions have im­proved in re­cent years as they can watch TV thanks to a satel­lite dish they are equipped with.

But they can only re­ceive two chan­nels, and the dish is of­ten shaken by strong winds, re­sult­ing in un­clear pic­tures.

“There used to be no en­ter­tain­ment in the work­place at all. We were of­ten hours away by car from the near­est township. All we could do is sleep when rest­ing,” he said.

How­ever, he has to limit his TV watch­ing to less than one hour to en­sure he gets enough rest for the next 12 hours of work.

“Ad­just­ing the tech­ni­cal pa­ram­e­ters for the drilling fa­cil­ity re­quires a lot of con­cen­tra­tion. We have to keep our eyes on it and can sel­dom leave,” he said.

When Jampa Tashi’s fa­ther passed away in 1996, he chose to stay at work in­stead of go­ing back to his home­town in Chamdo about 1,200 kilo­me­ters away. He even kept his fa­ther’s death a se­cret to his com­pany.

“From mid-June to midAu­gust is the best time for drilling. Work is hard once the ground freezes in win­ter. If one worker leaves, the work is dif­fi­cult to con­tinue,” he said.

Work­ing at a high al­ti­tude has caused him hyper­ten­sion, which of­ten leaves his eyes blood­shot and has dam­aged his mid­dle ear.

“I can’t clearly see mes­sages on my phone and have to en­large the font to read them,” he said.

How­ever, he has de­cided to con­tinue.

“As a Party mem­ber, I should be ready for hard­ships and be happy to con­trib­ute, or I will feel sorry to be called a Party mem­ber,” he said.

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