Himachal signs $100m loan pact with World Bank
Moving ahead in its initiatives to implement an environmentally sustainable model of economic growth in the state, the Himachal Pradesh government signed a $100 million loan agreement with government of India and the World Bank on Saturday.
On behalf of the state government, chief secretary Sudripta Roy signed the agreement, while joint secretary, ministry of finance, Prabodh Saxena and Roland Lomme, governance adviser of World Bank, signed the agreement on behalf of the government of India and World Bank respectively.
The agreement will support the state in making its inclusive and sustainable green growth agenda.
The bank's programme is aimed at helping Himachal Pradesh to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change, bringing in better policies and practices for sustainable development, empowering local communities to conserve their watersheds, promote cleaning methods of industrial production and promote environmentally sustainable tourism.
The state government has initiated a programme of community-led conservation of local watersheds across the state. The latest agreement with the bank will help the state government to further this conservation programme on pilot basis in at least one gram panchayat in 77 blocks across the state.
It is expected that these watershed management practices will result in higher soil conservation, improved habitats for bio-diversity, improved forest cover and reduced sedimentation.
Hydro-electric power has been identified as one of the key drivers of economic growth in the state. The loan will help the state government to incorporate hydro-power policies that are environmentally and socially sustainable.
The programme will also help Himachal to adopt a river-basin approach in the assessment and management of the environmental risks associated with large-scale hydro-power projects.
This will include conducting cumulative impact assessment for all key river basins, reviewing and monitoring the release of environmental flows from hydro-power projects and drawing up basin-level catchment area treatment plans.
Local communities living in the vicinity of hydro-power projects often have to bear some negative impacts. In order to ensure that these villagers also get a share in the benefits from these development projects, the state government has launched an innovative revenue-sharing scheme supported by this operation.