Odisha to seek funding from WB, ADB for disaster mitigation

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Bhubaneswar: In an effort to put in place a long term arrangement to face natural calamities like cyclone and tidal surge, Odisha government on Wednesday decided to seek funding from the World Bank (WB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) and central government, official sources said.
 
The state government's decision in this regard was taken at a high level meeting presided over by Chief Secretary J K Mohapatra and attended by representatives of the central government, World Bank and ADB.
 
It was proposed to source funding from the World Bank for housing purpose in coastal belt and from ADB for cyclone proof power infrastructure, they said.
 
With recent cyclone 'Phailin' damaging lakhs of houses and power infrastructure in the coastal region, the state government proposed to seek external assistance for building pucca houses within 5 km from the coast, setting up wind-proof power infrastructure, embankments at sensitive places in the coast and development of slums and planting trees.
 
While the state government proposed to seek an estimated Rs 800 crore from the World Bank for building pucca houses along the coast, ADB would be requested to assist with Rs 750 crore for setting up cyclone-proof power infrastructure.
 
The Central government would be requested to fund construction of embankments, slum development and plantation activities under its existing programmes, the sources said.
 
The need was to build 30,000 pucca houses for the fishermen living in the coast, the sources said adding that multi-purposes cyclone shelters had been proved helpful in saving human life.
 
IIT , Kharagpur after detailed vulnerable mapping of the state's 480 km coast line had identified 512 locations for construction of cyclone shelters out of which 340 have already been completed. There is immediate need for construction of 100 more shelters along the coast line which is estimated to cost around Rs 250 crore including approach roads.
 
Since Odisha is highly vulnerable to tropical cyclones, storm, surges and floods, the power infrastructure needs to be made cyclone proof by replacing overhead transmission distribution by underground cables in vulnerable areas which may cost around Rs 750 crore, they said.
 
As casuarina plantation along the coast bed have been effective in slowing down the wind speed, the state government has realised its need and about 2500 hectares have been proposed to be covered under such plantation at the estimated cost of around Rs 25 crore, the sources said.
 
It has also been proposed to strengthen river embankments at critical places to protect human habitations with cost involvement of about Rs 200 crore, development of slums in Berhampur town at a cost of Rs 200 crore and strengthening of disaster management capacity to face category-5 cyclone have been identified as other critical needs requiring external funding assistance.
 
The Joint Mission for Multilateral Assistance which visited the state in the aftermath of 'Phailin' and flood devastation has applauded the management of the disaster by the state government in the meeting,the sources said.
 
Michel Hanery, Operation Advisor World bank, Deepak Singh, Sr Disaster Risk Management Specialist, World Bank, Narahari Rao, Deputy Country Director ADB, Harish Verma, Senior Project Officer, ADB, Aparna Bhatia, Director Department of Economic affairs, S P Vasudeva of National Disaster Management Authority were among members of the team which had earlier visited the calamity-hit areas.

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