Akhilesh seeks assistance for strengthening infrastructure

The World Bank has agreed to step up its assistance to Uttar Pradesh. The assurance came at a meeting between Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim here on Tuesday.

Mr. Yadav sought assistance for the Lucknow Metro project and increased support in strengthening infrastructure. Dr. Kim, who was on a day-long visit to the State, said the bank’s experience had been “positive.”

Mr. Yadav shared the State’s priorities and sought assistance of over $3.5 billion over the next 3-4 years, especially in the areas of rural and urban infrastructure, solid waste management, roads, irrigation and health sectors. The World Bank chief readily agreed to support the Chief Minister’s request. The bank would also extend assistance worth over $1.6 billion for other projects in the pipeline.

Mr. Yadav told reporters at a joint press meet later that the talks were “constructive.”

The World Bank president noted that the largest number of poor in the world lived in Uttar Pradesh, about “8 per cent of the world’s people living in extreme poverty,” and “we have to be successful in U.P.”

Dr. Kim later visited Kanpur for gaining a first-hand experience of urban challenges. He also visited a village to see for himself the factors which compelled migration to urban centres.

In Kanpur, Dr. Kim was briefed about the government’s efforts to clean the Ganga. The World Bank supported the National Mission for Clean Ganga being implemented in five basin States, including Uttar Pradesh.

The State has sought an assistance of $1.5 billion for roads (in three phases) and $1 billion for strengthening and setting up urban systems.

Water projects

Uttar Pradesh is likely to receive an assistance of $1.6 billion from the World Bank for the Water Sector Restructuring Project II ($460 million), the Eastern Freight Dedicated Corridor ($1.05 billion), the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project for Low Income States ($155 million) and the Informal Settlements Improvement Project ($60 million).

Currently, two World Bank-aided projects are being implemented — the U.P. Sodic Lands Reclamation Project III and the U.P. Health Systems Strengthening Project.