Sindh to acquire ‘urgent loan’ of $405m for Indus dykes’ rehabilitation: Bengali


KARACHI – Sindh would be acquiring an urgent loan of at least $405 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for immediate rehabilitation of the Indus dykes that were adversely damaged by the worst-ever floods in the province. This was stated by Chief Minister’s Adviser on Planning and Development (P&D) Kaiser Bengali at a press conference held at the committee room of the P&D Department on Thursday. With the approval of the federal government, the funds of $405 million would be utilised on immediate basis for the rehabilitation of the flood-hit Indus dykes, canals and roads, he said.
He also said that a meeting between representatives of the ADB and the provincial government is under way, and the loan agreement would be finalised soon. The Sindh government would pay 0.5 percent interest rate on the loan in a payback period of 32 years, he added. Elaborating on the financial situation, the adviser said that the province is acquiring this loan due to shortage of funds transferred by the centre.
He said that the provincial government had initially released Rs 1 billion under the head of rehabilitation of Indus dykes, and the centre also contributed Rs 2.5 billion for the purpose. These Rs 3.5 billion would be reimbursed after the ADB releases the loan, he added.
He hoped that an MoU would be inked in Islamabad shortly, and the loan would be released to Sindh by March 30. Responding to a query, the adviser said that out of the total loan, at least $120 million would be spent on the rehabilitation of damaged roads, whereas the remaining funds would be utilised for rehabilitation of Indus dykes and canals, which has to be completed until June. He said that after the successful experiment of Hyderabad-Mirpurkhas dual carriageway, the provincial government would launch seven more motorway-like roads, including Jacobabad-Thul-Kashmore-Kandhkot, Jacobabad-Ratodero, Khairpur Mirs-Benazirabad, Qazi Ahmed-Benazirabad-Sanghar-Mirpurkhas, Hyderabad-Badin, Hala-Sanghar, and Karachi-Thatta-Badin-Mithi-Islamkot.
He also said that USAID is making construction of these highways feasible with a grant, but not a loan. The groundwork of these roads would commence in the first quarter of next year, he added. The adviser said that the provincial government is striving hard for the rehabilitation of flood-ravaged towns and villages, and over 50,000 houses are currently under construction. He said that the Sindh government is also expanding its resources for the reconstruction of flood-hit villages. “We have completed construction of 43 villages, whereas we shall reconstruct 100 more villages,” he added.
The adviser said that US-Habitat, the Turkish and Iranian governments, and other international and national NGOs are working on rebuilding the flood-ravaged villages.
He added that the provincial government is also working on installing filter plants for potable water in the flood-hit areas, and as many as 70 plants have been installed so far, with installation of 1,000 under way.


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