Govt at World Bank door

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Calcutta
  • Published 16.07.07
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Calcutta, July 16: The government is trying to get Rs 1,500 crore from the World Bank to develop infrastructure in cities such as Siliguri and Haldia and some of the district towns.

“Our government is trying for a soft loan. The Union finance ministry has given its in-principle approval to the project. Its details are being worked out,” urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya said while presenting his department’s budget.

“The idea is to carry out planned urbanisation in areas witnessing a spurt in economic activity,” he added.

The CPM was earlier opposed to loans from foreign institutions, which it considered “stooges” of American imperialism, but it doesn’t mind the funds for development projects now. Loans from the Japan Bank for International Co-operation and the Italian government are being used for waste management and water supply projects across the state.

The World Bank money will be used to build roads, create “good’’ sewerage and drainage systems and for water supply. The proposal is being studied by the Centre’s department of economic affairs.

The process of identifying areas where the money would be used is on, but Siliguri, Jalpaiguri, Haldia, Burdwan and Kharagpur are likely to benefit. Rajarhat, Maheshtala, Sonarpur, Kalyani and Haringhata are also witnessing economic growth, the minister said.