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World Bank to hike funds for urban projects in AP

Our Bureau

Hyderabad , July 16

THE World Bank has in principle agreed to increase the funding for the Andhra Pradesh Urban Development Project from $100 million to $300 million. An appraisal team from the Bank is also expected to visit the State during August 2004, the State Finance Minister, Mr K. Rosaiah, informed the Legislative Assembly on Friday.

Responding to questions, Mr Rosaiah stated categorically that the present Government will ensure that the interests of the State are protected and only `fair' conditions agreed upon while seeking fresh loans from the World Bank.

As far as the ongoing World Bank funded programmes were concerned the Government will not press for modification of the conditions laid down. "We are not against loans per se, but they should be need based and productive. We are looking for loans from Austrian Government, LIC and the Bank also," he added.

There are eight ongoing Bank funded programmes in the State and 18 already completed. Among the ongoing are the AP State Highways project, Community Forest Management; AP 3 Irrigation, AP District Poverty Alleviation, Rural Poverty Reduction, APERP, Structural Adjustment Loan (SAL) and SAL two, the Minister said.

Giving details on the meetings of the Chief Minister, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, with the Country Head of the World Bank, Mr Micheal Carter in New Delhi and in Hyderabad in the past few weeks during Question Hour, Mr Rosaiah said the two exchanged their views on issues of free power, ongoing programmes and future cooperation.

The Finance Minister said, "For us, World Bank is neither an enemy nor an adopted son. We will deal with them on equal terms and treat it as a lending agency."

He said the Government differed with the Bank on free power stating that it has its own responsibilities and priorities. Similarly, it also did not agree to suggestions on the closure of the State Road Transport Corporation.

The Opposition leader and former Chief Minister, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, said the Government should come clear on its stand on conditions and World Bank loans. "If you are against existing conditions, please cancel all the ongoing projects and re-negotiate," he said. Mr Naidu denied that his Government had agreed to winding up of the Transport Corporation or the Singareni Collieries.

More Stories on : Infrastructure | Andhra Pradesh

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