World Bank Chief visits Bhitarkanika

Kendrapara: A 12-member team headed by World Bank Chief Robert B Zoellick today reviewed the on-going Coastal Zone Management Project at the Bhitarkanika sanctuary. The World Bank funded project aims at improving provisions for villagers around Rajkanika affected by the sea due to regular erosion and also for large number of traditional fishermen affected due to conservation of Olive Ridley turtles especially during nesting season. The World Bank President Zoellick and his team members interacted with several villagers to take stock of the present conditions and the implementation of the project.

The World Bank had initially sanctioned Rs 135 for the Coastal Zone Management Project but subsequently raised the allocation to Rs 217 crore expressing satisfaction over the quality of progress of the project executed by the state government. The Centre as well as the state government laid stress on developmental programmes in the areas to bring in a qualitative change in the socio-economic conditions of the villagers. The programmes included construction of cyclone shelter homes, tackling erosion caused by the sea, protection of mangrove forests, improving the standard of living of the traditional fishermen and development of coir industry in the region. The project also aims at improving economic conditions of the people by involving the Self Help Groups (SHGs).

Zoellick is visiting India for the fourth time during the 12th Five Year Plan period. The district administration and the police had made elaborate security arrangements for the visit of the World Bank Chief.