WB signs USD 220 mn deal with Bihar for Kosi recovery project

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Patna, Jan 12 (PTI) The World Bank today signed a USD 220million agreement with the state government for ''Bihar KosiRecovery Project'' to rebuild affected areas in 2008 floods,head of the financial institution Robert B Zoellick said here.

Speaking after the signing of the agreement, Zoellicksaid besides supporting flood recovery efforts, the World Bankwould help Bihar reduce risks of flooding and boost emergencyresponses in the event of a disaster.

The Bihar Kosi Recovery Project is the first in a seriesof proposed projects for the state and World Bank is likely toprovide about USD one billion additional support to Bihar overthe next few years but this is a subject to approval from theBank''s board of executive directors.

"Future projects will focus on agriculture, roads aswell as flood management and disaster preparedness," Zoellick,who is on a two-day visit to the state, said.

The World Bank president said of the total of USD 259million for the Kosi Recovery Project, the state governmentwould contribute USD 39 million for the project.

The cost per house would be Rs 55,000 with an additionalcost of Rs 2,300 for a toilet and Rs 5,000 for solar poweredlighting. In cases, where beneficiaries do not own land, thestate government would provide additional assistance of Rs5,000 to buy land.

The five key components of the project are owner drivenhousing reconstruction, reconstruction of roads and bridges,strengthening flood management capacity, livelihoodrestoration and enhancement and improving emergency responsecapacity, he added.

World Bank country director Robert Zagha, JointSecretary in the Department of Economic Affairs Venu Rajamonyand State Planning Development Principal Secretary VijayPrakash signed the agreement in the presence of Zoellick,Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister S KModi.

Kumar said the 2008 floods, following a breach in theembankment of Kosi river at Kusaha in Nepal, had affectedabout 3.3 million people in the districts of Purnia, Saharsa,Supaul, Madhepura and Araria. About one million people wereevacuated and about 4,60,000 of them were provided temporaryshelter in relief camps.

Thousands of families dependent on farming lostlivelihood due to siltation and massive damage had been causedto housing and infrastructure, he said.

Kumar said the Kosi Recovery Project was aimed atsupporting reconstruction of about 1,00,000 houses for whichcash subsidy of Rs 55,000 would be provided to each of thefamily.

The construction plan has already been drawn and thehouses would be earthquake-resistant, he said, adding 90bridges and 290 kms of rural roads would also be constructed.

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