ADB to provide $ 56.9 m to tackle floods, erosion in Assam

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India have signed an agreement for the first tranche loan of $ 56.9 million under the $ 120 million Assam Integrated Flood and Riverbank Erosion Risk Management Investment Programme.

The programme is aimed at helping to mitigate the disruption to life and livelihoods and the huge economic losses that are caused by periodic floods in the Brahmaputra river.

The agreement was signed here yesterday by Mr Venu Rajamony, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India, Mr. Hun Kim, ADB Country Director for India and Mr R. S. Prasad, Chief Executive Officer, Assam Integrated Flood and Riverbank Erosion Risk Management Agency and Commissioner and Secretary, Finance Department, Government of Assam, on behalf of the state government.

The Multi-tranche Financing Facility of $120 million for the investment programme was approved in October, 2010 to enhance the reliability of flood and river erosion protection infrastructure and management systems in key urban, suburban, and rural areas along the Brahmaputra River in Dibrugarh, Kamrup (near Guwahati), and Golaghat (upstream of Kaziranga National Park) districts.

The first tranche loan will focus on the most vulnerable reaches and upgrade existing embankments, provide riverbank protection works where required, and help collect critical data and information. Work under the first loan is expected to be completed by September, 2014, an official press release said.

In addressing flood and river erosion problems, the programme will introduce a range of innovations, including the application of the latest cost-effective and sustainable technologies of bank protection with geo-textile fabrics, proactive risk mitigation through erosion prediction modelling using remote sensing, and community participation through local disaster management committees, among others.

Mr Rajamony said that effective management of flood and erosion problems was critical for Assam where the majority of urban and agricultural land was flood prone. He said that the ADB programme would, therefore contribute to inducing critical private investments in urban, industrial, and agriculture sectors, while protecting essential public and private assets and livelihoods of the population.

Mr. Hun said that this innovative water sector loan would put into operation comprehensive structural and non-structural measures for flood risk management following international best practices and introducing latest technologies. He expressed hope that its successful implementation would provide a model that can be replicated in other flood prone states in India.


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