Kerala to seek World Bank help in rebuilding state

A World Bank team is expected to visit the state on Wednesday and hold discussions with government officials

Volunteers collect household items in the lawns of a residential house before cleaning the house following floods in Kuttanad in Alappuzha, on August 28, 2018.


Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government will seek funds from the World Bank to help the state in massive reconstruction efforts that are required in the backdrop of the flood damage over the past fortnight.

A World Bank team is expected to visit the state on Wednesday and hold discussions with government officials.

Reports indicate that Kerala may seek a loan of Rs30 billion (Dh1.5 billion) from the World Bank for reconstruction of public infrastructure damaged in the floods.

So far, Rs7 billion has come into the chief minister’s relief fund through voluntary contributions from various sources.

State chief secretary Tom Jose said the state was hopeful of getting funds from the World Bank for reconstruction activities and that progress had already been made for a meeting with the bank officials.

Massive clean-up effort

Across the state, cleaning-up activities are continuing in different districts, notably in low-lying Alappuzha district where ministers T.M. Thomas Isaac and G. Sudhakaran led the efforts with the help of hundreds of volunteers.

While schools in most part of the state are scheduled to reopen on Wednesday after the Onam holidays, some schools in Alappuzha which continue to be affected by the flood waters, will open at a later date.

The program to clean up the Kuttanad area of Alappuzha, the traditional rice bowl of the state, will involve about 60,000 persons. Their combined effort is expected to help clean roughly 50,000 homes in the area.

Of the volunteers, one person from each of the affected homes will make up 50,000 people, and the remaining 10,000 volunteers will be sourced from elsewhere.

Metroman blames dam waters

Well-known bureaucrat E. Sreedharan, better known as India’s Metroman for having led the Delhi and Kochi metro projects, said that there had been a failure in the manner in which the dam gates were opened.

Several others had earlier opined that the opening of nearly three dozen dams across the state when the rains were pounding the state, added to the intensity of the flooding and the resultant havoc.

Sreedharan opined that the dams need not have been filled to the maximum at a time when there were abundant rains and the forecast also predicted heavy rains.

Rahul Gandhi visits state

Congress president Rahul Gandhi made a quick tour of some of Kerala’s flood-affected areas on Wednesday.

He spent some time with the inmates of a relief camp in Chengannur before visiting a camp at a local engineering college and then visited places in Edanad, Pathanamthitta district which were badly affected in the floods.

He also visited Aranmula in Pathanamthitta district, an area that was severely inundated in the rain waters.

The Congress president won many hearts in Chengannur when he delayed his own flight to Alappuzha in order to enable an air ambulance with a patient to take off quickly.

The incident happened at the Christian College ground in Chengannur where Rahul Gandhi had come to take a flight to Alappuzha after visiting flood-affected areas in Pathanamthitta district. When he came to know that a woman had to be airlifted to Alappuzha on an emergency basis, he decided to let the air ambulance take off before his aircraft.

 

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