World Bank gives $220 mn aid to flood-hit Bihar

January 12th, 2011 - 7:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Jan 12 (IANS) The World Bank Wednesday signed a $220 million reconstruction aid agreement with the Bihar government to rebuild the flood-affected areas of the state with new bridges, roads and houses.”This project marks the start of a new phase in our relations with Bihar to help meet the state’s longer term need for comprehensive disaster management,” said Robert B. Zoellick, group president, World Bank.

According to him, the Bihar Kosi Recovery Project is the first in a series of proposed new projects for the state which is likely to be provided with about $1 billion in support over the next few years.

The agreement was signed during Zoellick’s visit to the state capital where he also met Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and other senior government officials.

The World Bank said that the aid is aimed to support flood recovery efforts, while reducing the risks from future flooding, and to boost emergency responses in the event of disasters.

“The new project aims to help Bihar’s flood-affected people by supporting the reconstruction of about 100,000 houses, and the rebuilding of 90 bridges and 290 kilometres of rural roads,” said an official statement.

The Bihar government welcomed the move and termed it as a significant development towards mitigating any future devastation caused by floods in the state.

“We welcome an expanded engagement with the Bank on disaster management, as well as in other key areas of economic development,” said Nitish Kumar.

In 2008, floods in the Kosi basin of north Bihar affected about 3.3 million people in five districts of the state.

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