Guwahati, Wednesday, August 8, 2012
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Assam has so far received $1 billion ADB loan
Raju Das
 SHILLONG, Aug 7 – Assam has so far received close to one billion dollars as loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to enhance its power sector, but, getting competent contractors to execute the projects efficiently remains the biggest challenge.

Most of the projects were sanctioned from the past few years and were directed in enhancing the distribution and supply system of electricity in Assam. Taking into account all the projects approved by the ADB the sanctioned amount is close to one billion dollars, an ADB official said here today.

Out of the several projects, Assam Power Sector Enhancement Investment Programme (Facility Concept), wherein the ADB approved an amount of $ 200,000 in November 2009, remains the biggest fund extension from the ADB.

The objective of the project is to introduce new business processes, strengthen the human resources and financial management capabilities, and further mainstream rural electrification.

Other projects approved by the ADB includes, the Energy Efficiency Enhancement Project, Assam Power Sector Enhancement Investment Programme – Project 1, Assam Power Sector Enhancement Investment Programme - Tranche 2 and Assam Power Sector Enhancement Investment Programme – Tranche-3. Just these projects totals to a fund extension of $ 4,02,000 from the ADB during the past five odd years.

Hun Kim, ADB Country Director said, that one of the biggest challenges for the region is to attract “big construction companies” to complete the projects efficiently in a timeframe.

Although Kim did not elaborate why the big construction companies were unwilling to enter the North East, one of his associates said that the security scenario and the hostile terrain remains the biggest obstacles.

“The multilateral developmental agencies, including the ADB, are constantly trying to build capacity of the project States to help bring in competent constructors for the ongoing projects,” Kim said to journalists on the sidelines of a review meeting here on externally aided projects for the region.

He said factors such as the hostile terrain and scarcity of human resources and also respective State contribution towards the projects were some of the other challenges facing the projects in the North East.

The ADB said externally-aided projects is a “new phenomenon” for the region and only during the past five odd years multi-lateral developmental agencies entered the region largely with the assistance of the Central Government.

Due to this support from the Central Government, construction companies are now slowly but surely entering the North East to expedite the infrastructure development of the region.

The ADB has extended fund for numerous projects in the region ranging from roads, power, agriculture and other sectors. Kim said that once the region’s infrastructure is developed it would help build a “favourable investment climate,” which would eventually lead to overall development of the region.

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