Germany has announced a massive aid package to support climate-resilient rebuilding of Kerala’s flood-shattered public infrastructure, which includes a nominal interest loan of ₹720 crore (€90 million).
The package, announced at a press meet by German Ambassador to India Martin Ney, also has a technical grant of €3 million (₹24 crore), which will be for providing international expertise to the State Public Works Department in climate resilient infrastructure planning to reconstruct roads and bridges.
In addition to this, Germany proposes to finance a €117-million (₹940 crore) integrated water transport system, called Water Metro, in Kochi within Indo-German Economic Co-operation.
The Water Metro project involves 15 identified routes connecting 41 boat piers/jetties across 10 island-communities (about 5 lakh inhabitants) with a 76-km route network.
The routes are expected to cater to a demand of about 1 lakh passengers daily by 2035. After completion of the project, 78 hybrid boats will be operated every 10 to 20 minutes. The project is proposed to be fully operational by 2020.
The heavy monsoon this year brought widespread floods in several districts of Kerala and triggered thousands of small to big landslides destroying homes, bridges and roads. The cost of reconstructing the destroyed buildings and infrastructure has been estimated at₹31,000 crore.
“Germany is ready to support Kerala during these challenging times and is pleased to contribute to the Rebuild Resilient Kerala Initiative. Our common goal will be to ‘build back better’ and to help restore people’s livelihood as soon as possible,” Ney said.
The support will be implemented through the German development bank KfW.
The project was worked out bilaterally with the Indian government as that is the standing procedure in such matters, Ney said. “The loan will be provided on a nominal rate and it has very good conditions,” he said. The next step is signing of loan agreement between KfW and the Government of Kerala, he added.
Karl Philipp Ehlerding, Deputy Consul General of German, Bengaluru, and Syed Ibrahim, Consul, were present at the press meet.