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World Bank chief visits UP, promises help to Akhilesh

March 12, 2013 14:29 IST

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has stated that he sees 'much promise' in Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, with whom he held an hour-long meeting on Tuesday morning.

“He is the youngest chief minister in the country and we are confident that he is committed to important governance issues, including poverty alleviation and environment related programmes,” Kim told a press conference addressed jointly with the chief minister.

Lauding Akhilesh’s initiative in distributing laptops to young students, he said, “The distribution of laptops to young students reflects the forward-looking attitude of the chief minister who wants to promote information technology in the state.”

He said, “The Akhilesh Yadav government has identified some of the key challenges to growth. By supporting this vision through investments in rural and urban infrastructure, we hope to help the people of Uttar Pradesh gain access to better jobs and services.”

Kim added, “The World Bank’s mission of eradicating poverty and boosting prosperity cannot be fulfilled if UP continues to be home to 66 million of India’s poor -- the highest in any Indian state. We are therefore committed to stepping up our engagement in UP to help the government meet the aspirations of these people.”

The assistance sought by the UP government includes $ 1.5 billion for roads and $ 1 billion for strengthening and setting up urban systems.

“Other projects being considered are in the fields of power, municipal solid waste management and tourism,” said the World Bank president.
 
As of now, the state has two projects -- the $ 196 Million Sodic Land Reclamation Project and the $148 million Health Development Systems Project, besides a special project for cleansing the Ganga -- under the aegis of the World Bank.

Earlier, the UP chief minister sought an assistance of more than $ 3.5 billion for the next three to five years.

Kim, who was on a day-long visit to Uttar Pradesh, also visited Kanpur, which is a part of the World Bank’s $ 1 billion ’Clean Ganga project’.

He also visited some slums in the city where the World Bank has undertaken poverty alleviation programmes. He interacted with the locals to learn about their efforts to secure vital services such as water supply and sanitation.

Later in the day, he will also travel to a village to gain an insight into the harsh realities of rural life in India, which often compel the villagers to migrate to towns and cities.

Sharat Pradhan In Lucknow