More than 5,000 lifts in Hong Kong are expected to become much safer than they are now under a government-subsidized scheme, according to the Urban Renewal Authority (URA).
Members of the URA board on Tuesday agreed to use the HK$2.5 billion fund set up by the government to subsidize repair works for lifts in the city, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The decision was based on a proposal made by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor in her policy address last year to launch the Lift Modernization Subsidy Scheme to improve the safety of existing lifts.
According to the board’s decisions, each lift whose condition needs to be improved will be granted a subsidy equivalent to 60 percent of the total cost, with the upper limit of the subsidized amount set at HK$500,000.
The subsidy scheme will be open for applications starting from the first quarter next year.
Alice Mak Mei-kuen, a non-executive director of the board, pointed out that since the number of technicians qualified to perform lift repair jobs in Hong Kong is not enough, the URA will try to limit the quoted prices within a reasonable range when contractors submit their tenders.
The URA will also take measures to prevent bid rigging, Mak said.
At a meeting held by the Legislative Council’s Panel on Development on Tuesday afternoon, Secretary for Development Michael Wong Wai-lun said his bureau will review the program two years after it is launched, adding it does not rule out raising the funds for the subsidy scheme or relaxing the requirements for applying for the subsidy, depending on the effectiveness of the scheme and related financial issues.
Wong also said the government is not ruling out legislation to compel building owners to repair old lifts, but added that their ability to shoulder the repair costs will be taken into consideration.
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