World Bank's Kashmir project stuck in ‘dispute’
Altaf, MPs Seek Pranab’s Intervention
Srinagar, Dec 18: The state has failed to get the World Bank funding worth Rs 740 crore for a ‘Participatory Watershed Management Project’ after the later issued a disclaimer on Jammu and Kashmir, implying that the territory was disputed.
Sources said that the World Bank had sanctioned funding for the multi-billion project in 2008. “However, the project couldn’t take off as the World Bank extended disclaimer to Jammu and Kashmir which the Bank had issued for Arunachal Pradesh earlier,” they said.
The World Bank appraised the project and its feasibility in May 2008. The state government had finalised all the documents as required by the World Bank.
However, the Ministry of External Affairs communicated to the state government about the World Bank’s disclaimer about J&K, implying that the territory was disputed, something it had never done while funding J&K’s projects in the past.
In this regard the chief minister, Omar Abdullah, had written a letter to the Union Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, earlier this year and urged him to take up the issue with the World Bank authorities. “We have not received any communication from the Department of Economic Affairs, Government of India so far. It seems GoI hasn’t taken up the issue with the World Bank. I, request you to have a special consideration for J&K and ask the Department of Economic Affairs to take up the issue with the World Bank,” Omar wrote to Pranab on June 24, 2009.
On July 20, Pranab wrote to Union Forest and Environment minister, Jairam Ramesh asking him to take necessary follow-up action to resolve the issue.
However, the issue remained unresolved and on Friday, state Forest and Environment Minister Mian Altaf Ahmad along with Parliament Members from J&K, Muhammad Shafi Uri, Shari-ud-Din Shariq, Madan Lal Sharma and Ghulam Nabi Ratanpuri called on Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi to seek his intervention on the issue.
“We met Pranab Ji and he assured us that the union government would follow the project vigorously. He assured that the issue would be sorted out with the World Bank authorities soon,” Mian Altaf told Greater Kashmir over phone from New Delhi.
“The Participatory Watershed Management Project is sequel of two phases of Integrated Watershed Development Programme, which have been implemented in the state in the past and there are few projects of Economic Reconstruction Agency which are funded by the Asian Development Bank and none of these involved any disclaimer issue,” he said.
Sources said External Affairs Ministry would take up the issue with World Bank authorities on the same analogy. “If the project is rejected by the World Bank, it would have political repercussions and Government of India would never like that,” sources added.
The multi-billion project, if implemented, would cover an area of 3,14,705 hectares in 11 sub watersheds namely Kamhil (Kupwara), Sukhnag (Budgam), Sindh (Ganderbal), Lidder (Islamabad), Jehlum (Varmul), Indus (Leh), Suru (Kargil), Ans (Rajouri), Tawi (Jammu /Udhampur), Manawar Tawi (Jammu), and Kuntwara (Doda).
The preparation of PWMP, a follow-up on project of IWDP-Hill-II, was taken up in 2006 with the objective to restore the productive potential of J&K by using cost effective treatment technologies with participatory approach.
The Project had to be implemented through a society, bylaws of which were drafted with the guidance of the Finance Department and agreed by the World Bank during the final appraisal of the project.
The cost estimates of the project were finalized by the World Bank authorities during the final appraisal of the project conducted from May 5 to 12, 2008. The financial requirement of the project was US $ 151.1 million (Rs 740.00 crores). The funding pattern of the 7-year project would have been 79.4 percent IDA share, 17.10 percent state share and 3.5 percent beneficiary share.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 18 Dec 2009 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 18 Dec 2009 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 19 Dec 2009 00:00:00 IST
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