TAMIL NADU

Tamil Nadu and Kerala to get $200 million ADB aid

N. Ravi Kumar

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu will draw the lion's share of the $200 million (Rs.870 crore) package approved by Asian Development Bank (ADB) to restore livelihoods, rehabilitate and reconstruct the infrastructure damaged due to tsunami in the State and Kerala.

Described as the worst affected — in the aftermath of the December 26 devastation — by a joint assessment report of three multilateral agencies, Tamil Nadu, where about 8,000 lives were lost to the tsunami, would get $143.75 million. Kerala, which reported 171 deaths, would get $56.25 million. The package comprises a $100 million grant from the multilateral agency's Asian Tsunami Fund and an equal amount as loan from ADB's ordinary capital resources. The Central, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala Governments would contribute $18.6 million toward the total cost of $218.6 million and the project is due for completion in April 2008.

32-year loan term

As per ADB's Disaster and Emergency Assistance Policy, the loan will have a 32-year tenure, including a grace period of eight years. The executing agency for the project in Tamil Nadu is the Disaster Management and Mitigation Cell functioning under the Revenue Administration.

An official communiqu� announcing the package approval said the ADB, United Nations Development Programme and World Bank, which assessed the damage and estimated the reconstruction financing needs in Tamil Nadu at $868 million, gave details of the break up of the work. The three donors and the Government agreed to allocate housing, fisheries, and agriculture sectors to the World Bank and disaster risk management to the UNDP.

Arjun Goswami, a Principal Governance Specialist at ADB, said, "the project will focus on the highest priority areas, identified through consultations with the State Governments, civil society, and other stakeholders." The emphasis, he added, would be on rehabilitating and reconstructing to a "pre-tsunami level or a higher, cost-effective, environmentally sustainable standard with design incorporating features critical to disaster prevention."

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