Assam yet to sign loan papers for ADB project

Dispur yet to sign loan papers

- Move to speed up agreement for adb funds


Guwahati, April 17: Dispur is expediting the signing of the $120-million loan agreement for the Assam integrated flood and riverbank erosion risk management investment programme to stop the Asian Development Bank’s loan approval from expiring.

Though the ADB’s board of directors had approved the loan package of upto $120 million last October, the loan agreement has still not been signed.

The rules state that the agreement has to be signed within a year.

“We are fully aware of the fact and are on track. We are hopeful of signing the loan agreement in a month or two,” Ravi Shankar Prasad, the chief executive officer of the Assam Integrated Flood and Riverbank Erosion Risk Management Agency, told The Telegraph.

The agency, which comes under the aegis of the state government, is responsible for the implementation of ADB-financed projects, in accordance with the government and the bank’s policies and procedures.

The programme will focus on improving protection for communities in three sub-project areas —Dibrugarh, Kaziranga and Palasbari (Kamrup), covering a 90km stretch along the Brahmaputra, where as many as a million people earn their livelihoods. Much of the state’s rural and urban land comprises flood-prone areas alongside the Brahmaputra and its tributaries. “We had to start work from scratch and many persons working for the project had to get acquainted with working in an ADB project, which took time,” Prasad said.

The signing of the loan agreement was to be done in November or December last year.

The bank says the validity of approval of a loan or grant lapses automatically within a maximum period of a year after the date of the board’s approval unless the loan or grant-related agreements are signed within that period or the validity is extended.

It also says that given the limited resources available to the bank and considering the increasing demands of the developing countries for external assistance, every effort should be made by the borrower or recipient and ADB to have loan agreements or grant agreements signed without undue delay.

“The loan and project agreements are yet to be signed. These will be done after the directive of the Centre that the signing will take place after the main procurement and consulting services contracts are signed,” mission leader Kenichi Yokoyama told The Telegraph through email.

He said the executing agency was evaluating several main procurement packages, after which the agreements would be signed. Prasad said both foreign and national firms have shown interest in working in different components of the project.

The loan’s closing date is September 30, 2017.

The total cost of the project is $150 million, of which the ADB is providing $120 million and the rest will come from the government.

Over 40km of existing flood embankments will be renovated, riverbank erosion will be addressed using cost-effective and environmentally friendly technologies, and steps will be taken to put infrastructure maintenance on a more sustainable footing under the project. The programme will also establish community-based disaster management committees and support flooding awareness campaigns, improved warning systems, community shelters and hazard maps.

Scientific studies and monitoring projects will also be undertaken to gain a better understanding of the region’s complex hydrology.


No comments:

Post a Comment