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Global Agencies To Provide Funds For Bihar's Development
News Post India, Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), Britain's Department for International Development (DFID) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) are keen to assist in the development of Bihar, one of India's poorest states.
A joint delegation of these global funding agencies has come forward to provide funds for infrastructure development, particularly roads, power, tourism, irrigation and panchayati raj (local self-government).
Official sources said Wednesday that the delegation promised to provide funds for the state's development in a meeting with the state's Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
The delegation submitted a report on the joint approach of the international development partners' group towards Bihar.
After the meeting Tuesday, an upbeat Nitish Kumar said he was happy that Bihar was the first state where the new concept was being introduced to give financial aid in infrastructure development and other sectors.
The state government had approached the World Bank for assistance in Bihar Rural Livelihood Project. It had also sought assistance from ADB for infrastructure development, particularly roads and power.
The government had approached DFID for assistance in strengthening panchayati raj institutions under the Sarkar Apke Dwar (government at your doorstep) programme.
'The government had sought funds from DFID for construction of community buildings in all 8,712 gram panchayats (village councils). The buildings would be earthquake-resistant and also provide shelter to flood victims. The project would cost Rs.30 billion,' said an official source.
The JBIC is also keen to assist Bihar to build an expressway between Patna and Gaya and also to develop tourist spots in the famous Buddhist circuit.
'The JBIC would provide funds worth Rs.56 billion for the construction of a four-lane road in the Buddhist circuit of Bihar. These will be roads connecting Buddhist shrines in Bodh Gaya, Nalanda and Rajgir,' the cource said.
Bihar is notorious for poor road connectivity. Most roads are in bad shape. This is despite budget allocations that run into billions of rupees.
The power situation is equally grim. People in most of the state's 38 districts except Patna continue to rely on lanterns. District headquarters and small towns get just four to eight hours of electricity daily.
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