The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rs 350 crore more for clean Calcutta
- ADB funds for city and suburbs

New Delhi, Dec. 15: The Asian Development Bank will lend an additional $80 million (Rs 357.3 crore) to clean up Calcutta.

ADB said the fresh funds would finance basic urban services in the city’s deprived outer areas, promote community involvement and support the Calcutta Municipal Corporation.

A bank official told The Telegraph that its board of directors had cleared the proposal for the additional funding last evening.

The projects include sewerage and drainage for around 20 lakh people, solid waste management for a population of 50 lakh, enhanced urban services for 200,000 slum dwellers and flood protection.

The revised cost is now over $400 million (about Rs 1,800 crore), of which the bank is giving more than half. The state government and the Calcutta Municipal Corporation will fund the rest.

The entire work is scheduled for a June 2010 finish.

According to an ADB study, “only half of the 4.58 million population of Calcutta have a sewer connection, a figure that drops to only 17 per cent in the city’s outer areas, which generally have access to fewer and lower quality basic urban services”.

Despite initial delays, the project has gained considerable momentum in the past 18 months, said Keiichi Tamaki, an urban development specialist working with the bank.

There is a clear sign now that the project’s revised targets can be fulfilled, sources said. The $80 million was needed to fill a sizeable gap in the finances and to make sure that the work was carried out in an integrated manner over the entire project area.

The scope of the project has undergone several changes since 2000 with the inclusion of a new borough, a rise in the number of people to be re-settled, higher compensation and changes in canal impro-vement works. In addition, costs of goods and services have risen.

The ADB sees the continued influx of people into Asia’s urban areas further straining the sustainability of cities unless there are major improvements in efficiency and management and massive infrastructure programmes.

Urbanization and Sustainability in Asia, a book released by the ADB today, says: “The continuation of present practices and levels of investment could well see the sustainability of many Asian cities undermined, periodic urban environmental crises, and gradual erosion of quality of life....”

The book “takes good practice case studies” from 12 Asian countries and examines their success in sustainable development of urban centres.

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