India to sign for world bank loan for 2nd phase of dam rehabilitation

After the phase I of the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) with nearly 200 dams that ended in March 2021, the government is all set to enable the states secure the second tranche of loan from the World Bank for DRIP II and DRIP III on Wednesday for rehabilitation of 700 dams.

The loan signing event is scheduled between Finance Minister Nirmala Seetharaman and the World Bank for DRIP II that will be implemented by the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.

Officials from 10 states and the Central Water Commission (CWC) would be joining on the occasion.

For Phase II, there will be World Bank loan for the amount of $250 billion (approximately Rs 2,100 crore) and similar amount would be raised from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), signing for which would happen later in October, said DRIPS Project Director Promod Narayan.

The objective of the DRIP is to improve safety and operational performance of the selected dams, along with the institutional strengthening with system wide management approach. The overall supervision is to be carried out by the CWC.

DRIP Phase II and Phase III are aimed at physical rehabilitation of about 700 dams spread across 19 states.

“DRIP II and III would be implemented over the next 10 years,” CWC Chairman S.K. Haldar told IANS.

DRIP I was originally slated to run from April 2012 till June 2018, but was given a 33-month extension to close in March 2021. It had a budget of Rs 2,642 crore, of which Rs 2,077 crore came from the World Bank, Rs 496 crore from the participating states and Rs 69 crore was the Central share.

Loan repayment for Phase II will start from June 2027 and is expected to continue till December 2033, Narayan said.

CWC data shows that rehabilitation of 213 out of 223 dams is completed, besides, cumulative achievement for non-structural measures such as preparation of Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Manual and Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is 93 per cent and 88 per cent, respectively. Seven states, eight state agencies and two central agencies were involved in DRIP I.

When asked how the remaining projects for DRIP I will be completed, Haldar said, “If there are any residual projects, we will take those up in DRIP II and III.”

India ranks third globally with 5,334 large dams in operation and about 411 under construction. In addition, there are several thousand smaller dams. As many as 973 dams are 50 to 100 years old; 2,992 are aged between 25 and 50 and hence the policy push for safety of dams was necessary, said an official, adding, “Any dam-related mishap potentially leaves a massive trail of destruction in its wake.”

The Dam Safety Bill 2019 was passed by the Lok Sabha on August 2, 2019, and it is currently pending in the Rajya Sabha.

The DRIP II and III phases will be of six years each with a duration of two years as overlap. The Union cabinet has already approved DRIP II and III with 19 states and three central agencies.

The loan negotiation meeting with the World Bank for the first tranche of DRIP Phase II was held in November 2020 in which 10 states had participated.

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