World Bank extends $1bn loan for Mumbai Local upgrade

World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, who had a first-hand experience of the Mumbai commuter's travel woes, ended the day by announcing a mega loan to augment railway network in the metropolis. The development bank will provide a $1 billion (Rs.7,000 crore approximately) line of assistance to beef up the Mumbai Urban Transport Project-III plan and help integrate climate-resilience with agriculture in drought-affected districts of Maharashtra.

This is the highest funding currently for any state in the country by the financial institution in recent years and the funds will be allocated over a period of 18-20 years at Libor plus rates. Quadrupling of Virar-Dahanu and Panvel-Karjat corridors and a third line for Panvel-Karjat are key elements in the plan.

The railway project is aimed at capacity building of the already overstretched network. The project will be executed on a 50:50 basis between the railways and the state government. New coaches will be procured and tresspassing control methods will be introduced at 22 places along the railway lines.

Another chunk of the funds will be allotted for a climate resilient farming project that the state government will take up in over 5,000 villages in drought-affected areas within Vidarbha and Marathwada.

Under this project, water conservation and changes in agriculture patterns to boost productivity and to make these villages more resilient towards changes in climate will be introduced.

The World Bank board is yet to green-light the agriculture project, but she said they were keen on funding it.

CM Devendra Fadnavis said that besides direct loans, the Bank will also help the state to get investments from private investors for other projects as well. “We have presented to them projects related to smart cities, water conservation and also sustainable energy projects,“ he said.

Other projects being implemented in the state with World Bank funding were also reviewed during the meeting.

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