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World Bank provides additional funding to modernize dams in India

The World Bank has approved an additional US$ 137 million in financing for the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) to rehabilitate and modernize selected large dams in the Indian states of Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand.

A loan agreement to this effect was signed on 8 March by representatives of the World Bank, the Government of India, the state governments of India and implementing agencies.

The World Bank approved financing totalling US$ 350 million in 2010 for DRIP to improve the safety and sustainable performance of more than 220 selected dams in India. The World Bank has so far invested US$ 280 million in the project that acts as a ‘lighthouse’, showcasing how best to make dams fully operational and safe in a technically sound and sustainable manner. The World Bank said that the ongoing project has benefitted more than 25 million people in urban and rural communities by providing water and livelihood opportunities.

The additional funding from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development will be used to construct an additional spillway at the Hirakud dam in the state of Odisha as well as to continue the rehabilitation and improvement of other dams and to strengthen the institutional, legal and technical framework for dam safety within the Government of India and in the participating states, the World Bank said. “Fostering rapid and sustained agricultural growth is a key priority for the Government. Due to erratic rainfall patterns, dams play a key role in storing water for irrigation and other uses,” said Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance. “This project will help improve the safety and operational performance of large and small dams in India leading to sustained rural development”.

“Infrastructure management often falls prey to a costly ‘build-decay-rebuild’ cycle.  Breaking this pattern by ensuring that dams are well managed, properly maintained and efficiently operated is essential. This will ensure the welfare and safety of communities and sustain economic growth. DRIP is delivering these important objectives,” said Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank.