Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the state plans to approach the World Bank for a loan to rebuild infrastructure damaged or destroyed in heavy rains and floods that wreaked havoc and killed at least 302 people in August, Mint reported on Monday.
“We will discuss with all international agencies including World Bank,” Vijayan said. “With World Bank, we are planning to begin talks. We will start the discussions without much delay. We are still at the phase of recovering from the disaster, that’s why the discussions haven’t started yet. But we will start the talks really soon.”
Vijayan did not mention the amount the state government plans to ask for, but an unidentified state government official said they were preparing a concept note to raise Rs 3,000 crore.
The plan to raise funds through an international agency comes amid a spat between the state and the Centre over a purported offer of Rs 700 crore in financial assistance by the United Arab Emirates. Vijayan tweeted about the alleged offer on August 21, following which the UAE’s envoy to India reportedly denied the country had made such a promise. The Centre has accused the state government of ‘making up’ the offer, knowing that it cannot accept foreign aid as part of policy.
The government official said the Centre was unlikely to object to the state raising a loan. “We are in touch with the Centre, they seem to agree in-principle,” he said.
On Sunday, Governor P Sathasivam said Prime Minister Narendra Modi clarified that the Rs 600 crore released by the Centre was only an advance assistance. Sathasivam, who met Modi in Delhi on Saturday, said the prime minister had “assured that additional funds will be released from the National Disaster Response Fund as per laid down procedure”, PTI reported.
Meanwhile, the Public Works Department presented an action plan to the state government, putting the cost at Rs 5,815.25 crore of rebuilding roads and other infrastructure over the next 18 months at Rs 5,815.25 crore, reported The Hindu on Monday. The Chief Minister’s Office on Sunday said 4,62,456 people were still living in 1,435 camps across the state.