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Yunlin County prohibits wells close to tracks

TAIPEI -- The Yunlin County government said yesterday that it would not allow any new wells to be dug near the high-speed railway's viaducts in the south central county as land subsidence is threatening the safety of the structures.

The Yunlin County Water Resources Department further said that any wells near the Yunlin section of the high-speed railway that were dug before the end of 2010 and have not been officially registered will also be capped.

Eventually, all 1,115 registered wells in the area will be closed, starting with those dug and operated by the state-owned Taiwan Water Corp. and the Yunlin Irrigation Association, the department said.

A total of 69 deep wells located within three kilometers of the high-speed railway tracks had been closed as of June 2, and the process will continue as part of efforts to protect the structural integrity of the railway viaducts, the department said.

Farmers in the designated areas who have to leave their lands to lie fallow as a result of the policy will be compensated financially, it said.

The problem of land subsidence in Yunlin has in recent years been at the center of heated public debate over the safety of the high-speed railway. The system's operator, Taiwan High-Speed Rail Corp., has warned that some support pillars for the elevated tracks in Yunlin are sinking at an alarming rate.

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