Dutch voice concern over `aid ban'

HYDERABAD Oct. 13. Paul ter Weel, a representative of the Development Corporation Department, The Royal Netherlands Embassy, on Monday said a number of Netherlands-aided programmes would be affected in the State by the Central Government's decision not to accept assistance from small countries. These include the Green Hyderabad Environment Programme and drinking water schemes in Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala.

Mr. Weel was responding to questions from presspersons, after the inaugural function of the two-day workshop on "Convergence between the Andhra Pradesh Netherlands Biotechnology Programme (APNLBP) and other Development Programmes,'' organised by the APNLBP Committee of the Biotechnology Unit of Institute of Public Enterprise.

"It is a setback to India,'' he said, while estimating the grant at $ 60 to 70 millions.

Expressing concern at the Central Government's decision, he said the assistance from small countries worked out to mere 6 per cent of the $1.2 billions. This came at a time when the world was getting smaller. He referred to the issue indirectly at the inaugural function too saying if India does not want to depend on assistance from other countries, it had be welcomed.

Mohan Kanda, Chief Secretary, who was to inaugurate the workshop, could not make it because of the Cabinet meeting today. In his keynote address, M. V. Rao, Chairman of the APNLBP Committee, said in the coming years the APNLBP intended to focus on transfer of technologies on a large scale. The programme had so far supported 62 projects of low, middle and higher order biotechnologies with a total commitment of Rs. 23.41 crores.

On convergence, he said there was need for finding ways of using the processes and the products developed by the APNLBP. The workshop would also discuss how these could be refined and made available to a number of other developmental programmes and integrate them in the ongoing programmes. Apart from representatives of the Dutch Government, those from international agencies like Food and Agriculture Organisation, ICRISAT, USAID were participating in the workshop.

Besides development programmes sponsored by the Dutch Government, the AP Rural Livelihood Programme supported by DFID, Velugu supported by World Bank, watershed programmes and women empowerment programmes could also consider integrating biotechnologies in their programmes. G. Pakki Reddy, Coordinator, APNLBP, IPE, proposed a vote of thanks.

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