The Telegraph
Wednesday , September 3 , 2014
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Japan pledges help for NE projects

- Cooperation in regional connectivity

Guwahati, Sept. 2: Japan, the land of the rising sun, has made the Northeast happy with the bounty it has pledged to visiting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The projects Japan has agreed to support include regional connectivity, sewer and water.

Official sources said Japan had pledged around 15.6 billion Yen (approximately $156 million) loan for the Guwahati sewer project.

It also announced surveys by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to identify areas of possible cooperation in the Northeast, including road connectivity and a feasibility study on potential yen loan project for water supply improvement in Imphal, Manipur.

Japan has also agreed to despatch a Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer (JOCV) in nursing to Mizoram. This would be the first JOCV in the Northeast. The JOCV is a JICA programme that aims to provide technical assistance in developing countries in fields such as agriculture, forestry and fishery, processing, maintenance and operation, civil engineering, public healthcare, education and culture and sport.

At present, Guwahati does not have a proper sewer system, leading to untreated or semi-treated sewage being disposed in stormwater drains. A scientific system of sewerage and sewage treatment is essential to save the population from calamity in the near future, a senior official of Kamrup (metro) administration told The Telegraph.

He said the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) had initiated the Guwahati sewer project and submitted a proposal to Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) through the Centre’s department of economic affairs a year ago. JICA had agreed to provide financial assistance for the project. During Modi’s five-day visit, which ends tomorrow, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to provide the loan.

The seven-year project aims to provide proper sewerage facilities by constructing an extensive network of sewers in south, central and southeast areas of the city. By 2020, 10.10 lakh people are expected to benefit from the project, which would increase to 23.32 lakh by 2050.

According to JICA, the project is not likely to have any significant adverse impact on the environment under the JICA Guidelines for Environmental and Social Considerations (April 2010) in terms of its sectors, characteristics and areas.

This will be JICA’s second project in Guwahati after a water supply project, which it supports in the north and south central zones of the city.

According to a document India and Japan — Partners for Common Development, which was released yesterday, both Modi and Abe laid emphasis on Japan’s cooperation for enhanced connectivity and development in the Northeast and for linking the region to economic corridors in India as well as Southeast Asia to catalyse economic development in the region.