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US, Japan to help improve water, sanitation in Indian cities

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 23 (UNI) The United States and Japan will partner India to help provide water and sanitation for the poor in the country.

The agreement, which was signed by the three countries at the Fourth World Water Forum in Mexico city on March 20, is part of the worldwide "US-Japan Clean Water for People Initiative", a joint endeavour to provide safe water and sanitation to the world's poor.

In India, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will work with the Union Ministry for Urban Development to provide safe water and sanitation to the poor, the US embassy said in a release.

In fact, the JBIC and USAID have already started working as a team with Bangalore city authorities to provide water and sanitation services to over 100,000 households in 368 slum settlements. JBIC will provide financing to extend the infrastructure to the slums while USAID will provide "soft" but vital technical assistance through the NGO Water Aid to help Bangalore slum residents organise and empower them to make critical decisions such as where to locate water taps and community toilets and what amount should be charged for these services.

The Ministry for Urban Development, the JBIC and the USAID intend to expand their collaboration beyond the Bangalore area to improve water and sanitation services in other Indian cities.

Improvement in water and sanitation infrastructure can improve public health and raise overall living conditions for the growing number of urban poor in India. It will also help to create a new water supply, sewerage and waste water disposal infrastructure and generate economic returns where rapid industrialisation and urbanisation have outpaced infrastructure development.

UNI AR VD PC1510

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