World Bank Chief happy with resettlement of MUTP affected

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Mumbai, Nov 1 (UNI) World Bank President Robert B Zoellick, who arrived on a three-day visit here today, expressed satisfaction with the resettlement of the project affected coming under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP).

After a quick presentation of the World Bank funded MUTP by the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) at the domestic airport lounge, Mr Zoellick visited a resettlement colony of the Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR) project coming under the MUTP in Majaswadi in suburban Mumbai.

To a question by the media on whether he was satisfied with the resettlement, a visibly pleased Mr Zoellick said, ''As long as the people are happy, there should be no issues.'' To a question on whether the World Bank will pump in more funds, he replied, ''We will be willing to help.'' Mr Zoellick spent about 20 minutes interacting with the residents of the resettlement colony constructed by MMRDA.

Addressing the media later, MUTP Joint Project Director and Joint Metropolitan Commissioner Milind Mhaiskar said, ''Mr Zoellick expressed satisfaction at the resettlement of the project affected.'' ''He interacted with all the stakeholders like commercial and residential establishments as well as 'anganwadis'. He also inquired whether the commercial establishments or the slumdwellers livelihood had suffered or benefitted after the resettlement,'' Mr Mhaiskar said.

Mr Mhaiskar said India being the largest client of World Bank, Maharashtra Government was seeking the Bank's assistance to improve Mumbai's infrastructure and transport system.

''He has come here as a goodwill gesture and to get a feel of the whole situation. The issue of pumping in more funds will be discussed at an appropriate level,'' he added.

Mr Zoellick arrived in Mumbai from Islamabad as part of his week-long visit to the South Asia region an hour behind schedule. Mr Zoellick will spend two days in India - from November 1 to 3, 2007 - before leaving for Bangladesh.

Mr Zoellick's visit to the bank, supported 945 million dollars Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) site which was to get a first-hand understanding of the on-going project that is expected to develop an efficient and sustainable urban transport system for millions of people living in the city. During the site visit, Mr Zoellick witnessed how people affected by the MUTP have improved their living conditions and the challenges that remain.

Later in the day, Mr Zoellick is scheduled to meet Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh at his residence. This will be followed by a meeting with Reserve Bank of India Governor Dr Y V Reddy. In the evening, he will meet CEOs of select Indian private sector companies.

On November 2, Mr Zoellick will travel to New Delhi from Mumbai.

In New Delhi, he will meet Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, and Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

During his time in India, Mr Zoellick will be accompanied by World Bank Vice President for the South Asia region Praful Patel, World Bank Country Director for India Isabel Guerrero and Executive Director for India on the World Bank's Board of Directors Dhanendra Kumar along with other officials.

UNI

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