BENGALURU: The final step before the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) okays funding for the Rs 5,550-crore loan for the Cauvery Water Supply Scheme (CWSS) Stage 5 is set to be taken in New Delhi in a fortnight.
On January 4, the Ministry of Finance informed the State Urban Development Department and the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) that a ceremony to mark the signing of ‘Exchange of Notes’ for the Overseas Development Assistance loan will be held on January 24, according to official sources. This Stage 5 project will supply water to 110 villages spread across 225 sqkm of the city in five zones -- Mahadevapura, Bommanahalli, Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Dasarahalli and Byatarayanapura.
A top official said, “This marks a culmination of 1.5 years of efforts undertaken by the Water Board to ensure we get this loan. Detailed documents will be exchanged. The final agreement will be signed between the Prime Ministers of India and Japan sometime after that.”
The agreement has effected a change in nomenclature of the project, said an official. “JICA wanted the project to be named as Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Project-Phase 3 (1) to track it better and the BWSSB is okay with it,” he said.
Asked about the specific amount that JICA would provide, a top official said, “As is the norm in all funding projects, it will be 85 per cent of the cost of the project. The remaining 15 per cent will be shared by the Government of Karnataka and BWSSB.”
The ‘soft loans’ with very low interest provided by Japan have been a tremendous financial support to the BWSSB. “It has helped the BWSSB with Rs 1,200 crore during the First Phase of Stage 4 of the Cauvery Water Supply project (1996-2006) and with Rs 3,384 crore during the Second Phase of Stage 4,” he said. Officials refused to disclose the interest rate of repayment saying it was confidential at this stage.
After being cleared by the Karnataka Cabinet, the project was cleared by the Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation, the Ministry of Urban Development, the Department of Economic Affairs, the Finance Department and then sent to JICA. Urban Development Minister K J George recently said that 17 out of these 110 villages would be provided drinking water by January end.