The World Bank on Tuesday approved a $147 million loan agreement to provide basic urban services to the people of Jharkhand and help improve the management capacity of the urban local bodies (ULBs) in the state. Also Read - With COVID Guidelines, Jharkhand Allows Chhath Puja at River Banks, Ponds | Check SOPs Here

“The Jharkhand Municipal Reform Programme will focus on improving the municipal sector’s capacity to provide basic urban services. It will invest in urban services such as water supply, sewerage, drainage, and urban roads; and strengthen the capacity of the Jharkhand Urban Infrastructure Development Company (JUIDCO) as well as that of the ULBs to carry out reforms in the areas of urban finance and governance,” an official statement said. Also Read - Jharkhand Govt Bans Chhath Puja Celebrations in Water Bodies

This is in keeping with the needs of a rapidly urbanizing state where about 31 million people reside in urban areas and urban population growth in nine of the 24 districts in Jharkhand is above India’s overall urbanization pace of 2.7 per cent. Also Read - JMM Leader, His Wife Shot Dead, Stabbed at Home in Jharkhand; Police Probe on

Speaking on the occasion, Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, said: “The government of India recognizes that urbanization and economic growth are interlinked and initiated a comprehensive road map for municipal reforms through the AMRUT scheme.”

He added that the Jharkhand Municipal Reform Programme will be a definite step forward to strengthen and improve urban services in a fast urbanizing state and will provide an impetus to economic growth.

Most of these components will be open to all 43 ULBs in the state who may wish to participate within an agreed framework under the project. Over 350,000 urban residents of the participating ULBs are expected to benefit, of which at least 45 per cent will be women.

Interventions such as piped water supply, stormwater drains, climate-friendly road construction and energy efficient street lighting will not only help improve urban services but also make it environmentally sustainable.

Work on the Khunti water supply sub-project and the Dhanbad roads sub-project is expected to commence shortly.

The loan, from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a seven-year grace period, and a final maturity of 22.5 years.