World Bank to give $250 mn loan for Uttarakhand reconstruction

World Bank to give $250 mn loan for Uttarakhand reconstruction New Delhi: Multi-lateral funding agency World Bank will provide USD 250 million loan to construct disaster resilient houses and road in cyclonic disaster hit Uttarakhand.

"The government of India, the government of Uttarakhand and the World Bank today signed a USD 250 million credit agreement for the Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project to support the state in its post disaster recovery plans as well as strengthen its capacity for disaster risk management,"World Bank said in a release.

The loan will help construct about 2,500 permanent disaster resilient houses and about 3,600 km of roads in Uttarakhand.

The credit agreement for the project was signed by Nilaya Mitash, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance; Rakesh Sharma, Additional Chief Secretary, from government of Uttarakhand and Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director.

The project will focus on the post disaster recovery plans in Uttarakhand as well as improve the resilience of the state's infrastructure and that of its communities from the impacts of such disasters in the future, said Mitash.

A joint World Bank and Asian Development Bank team conducted a Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (JRDNA) at the request of the central government to rebuild the state's infrastructure and assets lost in the June 2013 disaster.

"Disasters, like the one we witnessed in Uttarakhand, can roll back decades of development and are a fundamental threat to economic development and the fight against poverty. This project will focus on both reconstruction and disaster preparedness.

A very important part of the project will be to help the state be better prepared for the future. Disaster preparedness work will include putting in place information and communication systems that can provide early warning to people likely to be impacted," said Ruhl.

From 15 to 17 June in 2013, Uttarakhand suffered unprecedented rainfall devastating the towns of Kedarnath, Rambara, Gaurikund and others.

According to official government figures, over 4,000 human lives were lost; 4,200 villages were affected; 9,200 cattle/ livestock were lost; more than 3,300 houses were fully damaged.

This event also left over 70,000 tourists and 100,000 local inhabitants stranded in the upper reaches of the state.

The project will be financed by a credit from the International Development Association (IDA), part of the World Bank, that helps the world's poorest countries in providing interest-free loans with 25 years to maturity and a grace period of 5 years.