Feature: BRICS bank-financed water project brings hope to rural people in India

By Pankaj Yadav (Xinhua) 13:12, June 14, 2022

NEW DELHI, June 14 (Xinhua) -- A rural water supply project funded by the New Development Bank (NDB), or BRICS bank, is well in progress in the difficult terrains of India's northern hilly state of Himachal Pradesh, bringing hope to over half a million people suffering from water woes.

Himachal Pradesh lacks sustainable infrastructure for the rural water supply. Hilly and difficult terrain makes the task more challenging.

According to the NDB, around 42 percent of the habitations in the state have limited access to clean drinking water and are classified as partially covered for water supply. Non-availability of reliable water supply also causes the rural population to spend up to 2 hours for water fetching and storing related activities.

The NDB's loan of 80 million U.S. dollars was sanctioned in December 2021, and the project has already got reimbursement its first installment worth around 330 million Indian rupees (about 4.25 million U.S. dollars).

The total estimated cost of the project is 100 million dollars. The remaining 20 million dollars are to be borne by the Indian side.

The soft loan has been provided to the Indian Government, which in turn has been passed on to the Himachal Pradesh state government. The loan is to be repaid in 20 years, with an additional five-year "grace period".

The project is to be completed within a period of 44 months, including six "grace months." It is to benefit people living in as many as 1,255 villages located across eight districts.

A Xinhua correspondent recently visited the project site at the Kangra district's Indora sub-division and witnessed the work of laying of pipelines being carried out, and the work on constructing storage tanks about to begin.

Water is to be first lifted from a source situated in the plains, then stored in huge tanks, and finally distributed among the villagers through pipelines with taps in almost each household.

The locals are upbeat about the project, hoping that their long-standing water woes would be resolved soon.

Raman, a resident of village Makroli, told Xinhua that the water supply at his home has been quite erratic ever since his birth.

"Since my childhood I have never seen a regular water supply at my home. I hope this scheme funded by the NDB will ensure a regular water supply to us," said Raman, who did not reveal his full name.

Engineer-in-Chief of the project Sushil Justa said that the NDB-funded rural water scheme would prove to be a boon for the inhabitants in the upper reaches of Himachal Pradesh.

He said that the people staying in some of the top hilly terrains aren't able to get a regular potable water supply, and that the ladies in these areas have to fetch water from far flung areas to meet their daily needs.

He said that the NDB has been helping with the funding of water supply projects. "The NDB has funded 24 water supply schemes in eight districts of Himachal," he said.

"Work on most of them has started. This loan and project agreement was signed in December 2021. The loan is effective from January 25 this year only," he said.

Headquartered in Shanghai, the NDB was established by BRICS nations, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The bank formally opened in July 2015.

B.R. Deepak, Professor of Chinese & China Studies at India's Jawaharlal Nehru University, praised the NDB as playing an extremely important role in developing hard and social infrastructure across BRICS countries.

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Liang Jun)


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