Italy to support West Bengal water infrastructure projects

Italy extended financial support to help municipal authorities in West Bengal improve social and physical infrastructure in urban areas, specifically in various projects...

Italy extended financial support to help municipal authorities in West Bengal improve social and physical infrastructure in urban areas, specifically in various projects covering solid waste management in 14 towns and drinking water supply projects in 13 towns.

The funding proposal is now awaiting final agreement between the governments of India and Italy. The Italian investment proposal comes in the aftermath of the ongoing implementation of similar such projects in the state, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The US$ 156 million DFID-funded projects were launched for 40 municipal bodies within the Kolkata metropolitan area. The Environment Improvement Project, funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), was also launched in this urban area.

Speaking at a seminar on "ASIA URBS: European and Indian co-operation for sewerage and water sanitation improvement in West Bengal State" at Kolkata on 25 May 2004, the state Minister-in-Charge of Municipal Affairs & Urban Development, Mr. Ashok Bhattacharya, said that the fast pace of urbanisation in India, especially in West Bengal, is challenging urban planners to provide basic municipal services and develop appropriate infrastructure that are often severely deficient.

Under the Asia-URBS programme, four Partner Corporation towns of West Bengal such as Howrah, Asansol, Durgapur and Siluguri and two partner regions, such as Lombardia of Italy and Catalonia of Spain, have been taken up by the European Commission, in order to develop a mutual understanding for improving sewerage, wastewater and sanitation services and treatment.

The programme was developed to evolve a durable partnership between European and Indian administrators and local institutions by transfer of know-how in the fields of drinking water, environmental sanitation and wastewater treatment.

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