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World Bank gives aid for tsunami-hit TN, Pondy

Our Bureau

It would help in the reconstruction of public buildings and revival of livelihoods of people involved in fisheries and agriculture.

Coimbatore , May 4

THE World Bank has given a $465 million credit to India to support the reconstruction and recovery efforts in the tsunami-affected areas in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.

This is part of the total Bank support of $528.5 million for tsunami recovery operations in India.

The bank, in an announcement made in Washington on Tuesday, said the `Emergency Tsunami Reconstruction Project' was expected to help repair or reconstruct about 1,40,000 damaged houses in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.

It would help in the reconstruction of public buildings, revival of livelihoods of people involved in fisheries and agriculture and in reconstruction of houses and in coastal management.

More importantly, the bank said, `the project takes into account the government's commitment not to rebuild vulnerabilities.'

The project consisted of five components — housing, restoration of livestock, public buildings and public works and technical assistance and training and implementation support.

Under housing, finance would be provided for construction of transit shelters where needed and in upgrading services in temporary shelter sites, repair of existing houses and construction of new houses, apart from provision of community infrastructure such as access roads, internal roads, water supply, toilets and in the resettlement of the families affected.

The credit line would also be used to help rebuild the damaged fisheries infrastructure, restoration of damaged agricultural lands and horticultural lands.

Execution of minor works such as repair, reconstruction, and upgrading of damaged hospitals, public health centres and sub-centres, educational institutions, cyclone shelters would also be carried out.

Works relating to restoration of damaged river and drain banks, and replanting of mangrove and shelterbelts in Tamil Nadu would also come under the project sanctioned.

The World Bank aid would cover meeting the cost of technical assistance and capacity building for housing reconstruction, including preparation of detailed project reports, services in connection with land management etc. Incremental operating costs associated with project implementation, including financial audits, quality assurance and technical audits, project monitoring and evaluation, and continuous social and environmental impact assessments would be met from the funds provided.

According to Mr Shyamal Sarkar, Senior Sanitary Engineer with the World Bank, while the proposed project benefited the poor directly, the underlying premise of the Government's reconstruction programme was that it should be used as an opportunity for development.

The total project cost was estimated at $682.8 million, including contingencies, of which IDA funding of $465 million, or about 68 per cent of total, was proposed.

The rest would be met by the Government of India and Governments of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. In addition to this project, the World Bank would contribute a further $63.5million to the financing of tsunami disaster recovery activities. Existing IDA credits would help finance essential reconstruction activities in Andhra Pradesh ($40 million) and needs in rural water supply in Kerala ($10 million).

The needs in the roads sector in Tamil Nadu ($11 million) would be partially covered under an existing IBRD loan. A trust fund of $2.5 million would support certain activities that were part of, and consistent with, the implementation of the tsunami reconstruction programme.

The union Government was directly funding the recovery effort in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the World Bank has said.

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