WB Works Out Rs 21,000 Cr Damages In J&K, Ready To Offer Full Amount

29 April 2015
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Two high level Rapid Need Assessment teams of the World Bank have worked out Rs 21,000 crores worth damage to official infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir during September 2014 floods and decided to provide an equal amount to the State as loan assistance to rebuild it. The World Bank has fixed the meeting of its Board of Governors at Washington on May 22 to finalize schedule of payments and release first installment in the month of June. The Government of India would repay the loan amount installments while the State Government would get the amount as grant, a decision that would go long way in rebuilding badly damaged infrastructure in the State during worst ever floods in September 2014. Principal Secretary, Planning and Development Department, BR Sharma, who has successfully clinched the biggest ever loan assistance for Jammu and Kashmir from the World Bank during negotiations running over several months, told the Excelsior that the two high level teams of the World Bank known as Rapid Need Assessment teams have concluded their assessment of damages caused to infrastructure in Government sector in September 2014 floods and worked out the amount required to rebuild it as Rs 21,000 crores. Sharma, who led the Jammu and Kashmir Government's delegation in negotiations with the World Bank teams, said the Bank officials were satisfied with all terms and conditions of Central and State Governments and have decided to extend full help in rebuilding the damaged infrastructure. He said the Board of Governors of the World Bank will be holding exclusive meeting for Jammu and Kashmir loan assistance at Washington on May 22 to finalize the loan amount. 'Hopefully, the State Government would start receiving the World Bank grant in the month of June,' Sharma, who is also officiating as Home Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir, said. Official sources said the World Bank would release Rs 1500 crores as first installment for rebuilding the damaged infrastructure in phases. 'However, depending upon utilization and spending capabilities and satisfied with the restoration of infrastructure, the World Bank is likely to fund entire amount of Rs 21,000 crores, which they have themselves assessed as requirement for the damages,' sources said, adding the amount would be released in the phases. The Government of India would repay the entire amount granted to Jammu and Kashmir as World Bank loan assistance while the State Government would get the amount as grant-in-aid, sources said, adding this will go long way in rebuilding bridges, roads, buildings including Government schools and other Government infrastructure, which was shattered in September 2014 floods. Sources said the World Bank's Rapid Need Assessment teams visited different parts of Jammu and Kashmir along with top officers of Jammu and Kashmir to see for themselves the damage caused to Government infrastructure in the devastating floods. They prepared project wise details of the damages and finally adopted the figures of Rs 21,000 crores as damages. The World Bank, however, didn't offer loan assistance for damage caused to private property like houses, shops, crops and commercial buildings etc. For damage to private property, the State Government would approach the Centre for flood rehabilitation package, which is being worked out in detail. 'Only after the package is revised, the State Government would approach the Central Government for funding. The State could ask for a handsome amount as the package for compensating the public, which suffered immensely in the floods,' sources said. The package, which the State Government would ask for from the Centre, would be in addition to Rs 2845 crores already given by the Centre to the State Government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved Rs 1000 crores for flood victims during his visit to Srinagar on September 7. On his Diwali visit to the Valley, he had announced Rs 570 crores for rebuilding homes and Rs 175 crore for six major hospitals. Prior to this, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had approved Rs 1100 crores for the State under State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF).