STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Bhubaneswar, 14 November
The Water Initiatives Odisha today urged upon the state government to be more transparent in its dealings with the World Bank and ADB and provide details of the soft loan/assistance for reconstruction work in cyclone hit areas.
Both the banks will give $313 million (World Bank – $208 and ADB – $105), said Ranjan Panda, convenor of WIO while questioning why the government should avail loans for reconstruction and rehabilitation work in cyclone hit districts.
Panda went on to note that loans from such institutions often come with conditions and it needs to be discussed in public domain before it is availed or accepted. “We have seen how these institutions have tried to influence our ‘governance systems’ and have promoted more privatization and polluting industries than doing any good”, said Panda. The government needs to discuss this with the people of the state and make the documents public, he added.
“We demand that the detailed project reports for all the activities, along with the conditions set by these institutions, be made public and appropriate suggestions sought before the final decision,” said Panda.
He said theWB proposes to provide loan for plantation of mangrove forests under the ongoing ‘Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZM)’ while the ADB loan is to strengthen river and saline embankments. “Both of these activities need critical scrutiny by involvement of local people and experts,” said the WIO convenor.
“The ICZM has so far not been able to make much headway in promoting mangrove preservation. Therefore, relying upon it should not be encouraged. Similarly, many a times embankments have actually caused more devastation during floods and hence need to be thoroughly planned with integration of local knowledge and technology. The government should consider these while planning coastal zone management,” he said.