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SAGA CORNER

World Bank Loan for Rebuilding Flood-affected Areas of J&K

Article116.pngCentre and the World Bank have signed a USD250 million credit agreement under the Jhelum and Tawi flood Recovery project for reconstruction and recovery support in flood-affected areas of Jammu and Kashmir in which public infrastructure and livelihoods were impacted severely. It will also strengthen the capacity of the state government to respond to and better manage natural disasters in the future. The Project will focus on the 20 flood-affected districts including Anantnag, Baramula, Budgam, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Kupwara, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian, Srinagar, Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Reasi, Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Poonch, Rajouri and Udhampur.

The project will be funded by credit from the International Development Association (IDA) – the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm with a maturity of 25 years, including a 5 year grace period. The credit agreement for the project was signed by Mr Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs on behalf of the Government and Mr Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director, India on behalf of the World Bank.

The continuous spell of rains in September last year, caused Jhelum, Chenab and Tawi rivers including their tributaries and many other streams to flow above the danger mark. Due to the unprecedented heavy rainfall, the catchment areas, particularly the low lying areas were flooded for more than two weeks. The Jhelum River breached its banks at several places. Over a million families were affected, directly or indirectly, and some 300 lives lost. More than 648,000 hectares of agricultural and horticultural land were affected causing huge loss to crops, plantations and animals.

“”The project will focus on restoring critical infrastructure damaged by the floods using international best practice. The infrastructure will be designed to improve resilience to future flooding and landslide, as well as seismic risk,”” according to Mr Raj Kumar.

World Bank assistance has been sought in rebuilding damaged public buildings, such as hospitals, schools, higher education buildings, fire stations, and selected block and district offices, and other important public buildings. It will restore and improve the connectivity disrupted by reconstruction of damaged roads and bridges. The infrastructure will be re-designed to withstand earthquake and floods as per the latest official design guidelines.

“”This region is highly vulnerable to natural disasters that can push millions into poverty. In addition to reconstruction, which includes reconstruction of roads, bridges and public infrastructure, the project will also help the region to better prepared for the future,”” Mr Ruhl said. Another key component of this project will be to strengthen and reinforce existing weak and vulnerable flood control infrastructure. It will strengthen the capacity of government entities in managing disaster risks, enhancing preparedness, and achieving resilient recovery through the preparation of a Hydro-Meteorological Resilience Action Plan with a focus on extreme weather events; River Morphology study for some key rivers impacted by the disaster; and an urban vulnerability assessment among others.”

By TIS Staffer
the authorBy TIS Staffer

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