Kerala to raise Rs 159 bn in loans from WB, ADB for rebuilding after floods

A view of the flood-affected areas in Kochi on Aug 19, 2018. Photo: PTI
A Cabinet minister's meeting in Kerala has decided to raise Rs 159 billion as loans from World Bank, Asian Development Bank and other bilateral funding agencies, domestic financial institutions and banks for the reconstruction of the major regions affected by the floods. 

The fund will be utilised in sectors like public works roads, roads under the local self governments, water supply, flood control, irrigation, coastal conservation, rehabilitation in coastal areas, public institutions, healthcare and environmental protection. The Cabinet has approved the proposal for a cost of Rs 158.82 billion. The Cabinet meeting also decided to consider the losses in agriculture and plantation sector and look at possibilities to raise resources for rebuilding those sectors.

The state government earlier approached the Union Ministry of Finance to borrow from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and other bilateral agencies as part of fundraising for the restructuring of Kerala. The World Bank and ADB has also organised a Rapid Damage Assessment & Needs Analysis (RDNA) in the state from September 12 to 20, following the announcement of the Ministry of Finance. The state government has received a draft report of RDNA and the final report is expected to be submitted by the World Bank-ADB team in the first week of October.  

According to the RDNA, the major sectors have experienced a loss of Rs 250.50 billion. However, the state government expects that the losses in industry are likely to be higher than the World Bank-ADB report. Likewise, the loss of livelihood and employment will also be high. The World Bank-ADB team paid more attention to material infrastructure than livelihoods. The losses in terms of livelihood and the social impact of the calamity are expected to be detailed by the United Nations Agency for Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA). It is also estimating that the amount to be spent on coastal maintenance and rehabilitation of the people will be higher than the estimates of RDNA.    

The Rs 20-25 billion transferred from the National Disaster Response Fund to the State Disaster Response Fund, Rs 25 billion from the Chief Minister's Disaster Relief Fund (CMDRF) and Rs 10 billion for various projects under crowd-funding will be used to rebuild the houses and purchase land for the rehabilitation of the people, maintenance of houses and as a compensation for the loss of crops and domestic animals, apart from repairing roads and government buildings.

A high-level committee will be formed with experts from various fields to monitor the state rebuilding excercise. Welfare measures for various sectors, including the industry, will be prepared in ten days. The chief secretary has also been assigned to start discussions and other steps before October 1 to restart development projects, including the national highway expansion, GAIL pipeline project, and transmission lines between Idamon and Kochi to carry power from the Kudankulam power plant, among others. It will also prepare projects that corporates can implement under their corporate social responsibility projects.   

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