KL NEWS NETWORK
Chief Minister, Ms Mehbooba Mufti Wednesday called for prioritizing the works under World Bank loan of Rs 1500 crore to address urgent infrastructure deficiencies in critical areas including flood and disaster management.
“Given the State’s resource constraints and lack of matching expertise, external funding and technical advice is imperative to create adequate flood and disaster management capacity in J&K,” the Chief Minister said while interacting with the visiting World Bank Mission team here this evening, an official spokesperson said this evening.
The Chief Minister said her government’s immediate concern is putting in place a comprehensive and efficient flood management programme in and around Jhelum and Tawi rivers as also increasing the outflow capacity of Wullar Lake to prevent the Kashmir valley from future flood threat.
“Having witnessed the devastation of September 2014 floods, we today get panicky, and rightly so, even with a few showers,” she said and added that in such circumstances, the Government’s first priority is to put in place a comprehensive flood and disaster management mechanism in the State.
Ms Mehbooba also called for adequate capacity building at various levels in the government to ensure efficient spending the World Bank loan which has to be utilized during the next four years. “We will have to put in all our efforts to ensure productive utilization of this money,” she said.
The World Bank team headed by Saurabh Dani, Senior Disaster Management Specialist & Task Team Leader also included Deepak Singh, Senior Disaster Management Specialist, Ignacio Urruttia, Disaster Risk Management Specialist, Neha Vyas, Senior Environment Specialist, Anup Karanth, Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist and Supriti Dua, Finance Management Specialist.
The 6-member team is on a three-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir to work out modalities for development of infrastructure projects damaged during the devastating floods in September 2014.
The World Bank Team Leader, Saurabh Dani assured the Chief Minister that the Bank would help the state not only by way of finances but would also provide technical assistance for capacity building to tackle the disasters and making the State Disaster Management Authority effective.
Earlier, briefing the meeting about various components of the World Bank loan, Financial Commissioner, Planning, Development & Monitoring Department, Mr B B Vyas said that the preliminary agreement on financing arrangement between the Government of India and World Bank was signed in April 2015 for $250 million (Rs 1500 crore) loan to be spent up to June 2020 for financing reconstruction of public assets severely damaged in September 2014 floods in Jammu and Kashmir.
He said the objective of the World Bank project is to improve infrastructure in J&K and make it multi-hazard resistant and to improve the State’s ability to respond to the disasters more effectively.
Vyas said the project components include Rs 360 crore for reconstruction and strengthening of flood-hit critical infrastructure, Rs 480 crore for reconstruction of roads and bridges, Rs 300 crore for reconstruction of urban flood management infrastructure, Rs 90 crore for restoration and strengthening of livelihoods, Rs 150 crore for strengthening disaster risk management capacity and Rs 120 crore for contingency emergency response.
Vyas said the State Government has already constituted a Project Steering Committee (PSC) headed by Chief Secretary for the World Bank Project with Financial Commissioner, Planning, Development & Monitoring Department as its Chief Executive Officer.
He said the Project Management Unit (PMU) of the World Bank Project will be located in the Relief and Rehabilitation Department.