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Punjab cabinet approves World Bank-supported US$ 285.71 million canal water supply project

A US$ 285.71 million project supported by the World Bank has been approved by the Punjab Cabinet for canal based water supply for the cities of Amritsar and Ludhiana.

A proposal  for the financing of the project requested by the Local Government department for adoption of Resettlement Policy Framework (RPF) under Punjab Municipal Services Improvement Projects is as follows: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) would finance US$ 200 million (70%) and Punjab Government US$ 85.71 million (30%).

The project will have the following sections:

  • Strengthening urban and water supply service management at US$ 11.61 million
  • Improving water supply infrastructure at US$ 240.38 million
  • Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation & Resettlement involving a cost of US$ 15.62 million
  • COVID crisis response at US$ 10 million
  • Project management at US$ 7.6 million
  • Front End Fee of US$ 0.5 million

In June 2018 the Punjab Government had requested( through the Department of Economic Affairs –DEA) that the World Bank support Punjab for implementing 24X7 canal based water supply projects in Amritsar and Ludhiana. Pre-feasibility reports were prepared for both cities in 2015 and updated in 2019, which proposed the need to migrate from rapidly depleting and contaminated decentralized ground water sources to a centralized treated surface water source.

The land requirement for construction of Water Treatment Plants (WTPs) along with treated Water Collection Tanks and Pumping Stations close to the canals in Amritsar and Ludhiana stands at 40 acres and 50 acres respectively.

In Amritsar, the land has been acquired along the Upper Bari Doab Canal (UBDC) of village Vallah by the Land Acquisition Collector through a negotiated cost of Rs.36.40 crore. In Ludhiana, land has been identified near village Rampur and the acquisition through negotiation is in progress.

A spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that the RPF lays down procedures and measures to ensure adequate accountability and transparency in the process of assessing land related impacts.

The spokesperson further said that the entire engagement would be under the framework of the State Partnership between the Punjab Government and the World Bank. The project would invest in bulk water infrastructure, establish new institutional models for Water Supply & Sanitation (WSS) service delivery, and also strengthen financial sustainability and customer orientation in WSS delivery.

In addition, the project would extend flexible just-in-time resources and capacity support to the Punjab government and Municipal Councils across the state to confront some of the critical challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, especially strengthening city-level response and focusing on frontline service providers.

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