THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Germany has announced financial and technical support to the Rebuild Kerala initiative. A low-interest loan of Rs 720 crore from the German Development Bank (KfW) and Rs 24-crore grant for technical support are the important components.
Announcing the assistance package, German ambassador Dr Martin Ney said Germany was the only partner country to come out with bilateral aid for Kerala’s rebuilding so fast, and of such scale.
“The aim is not just to reconstruct, but to reconstruct in a better way so that the roads and bridges would be able to withstand floods and landslides in future,” he said. Ney said the project was worked out bilaterally with the Central Government as per the standing procedures. The next step is signing of the loan agreement between the KfW and Government of Kerala, he said.
The technical grant of Rs 24 crore is for providing international expertise to the state Public Works Department in climate-resilient infrastructure planning to reconstruct roads and bridges.
Germany has abundant experience in providing technical expertise on the reconstruction of disaster-hit infrastructure, Ney said. While the hilly areas in the south are prone to landslides, the north witnesses floods. “We can build bridges which can withstand floods,” he said.
Water Metro in Kochi
In addition to this, Germany has proposed to finance a Rs 940 crore integrated water transport system - Water Metro - in Kochi. It includes 15 identified routes connecting 41 boat piers or jetties across 10 island communities (about 500,000 inhabitants) with a 76-km route network. The project is proposed to be fully operational by 2020.
Germany is also ready to finance a project for floating solar plants at Karapuzha reservoir and Malampuzha dam. The study in this regard is in the final stage. Ney said his country would also finance and support capacity development for the state’s solar rooftop programme.
The KfW will also support the implementation of a Rs 40-crore project on ‘watershed development for rehabilitation of degraded soils and climate change adaption’ starting from 2019.
Karl Philipp Ehlerding, Deputy Consul General of German Federal Republic, Bengaluru, and Dr Syed Ibrahim, Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany, were present at the press meet.
German envoy meets Governor
German Ambassador Dr Martin Ney visited Governor P Sathasivam on Friday. The ambassador briefed the flood relief package for Kerala planned by his country to the Governor. Dr Ney responded positively to a request by the Governor for improving cooperation in the tourism sector between Kerala and Germany.