Tuesday February 19, 2019
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French aid for Bengaluru Metro: Rs 1,504 crore as soft loan

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Bengaluru: In a bid to speed up the already delayed sate-run Bengaluru Metro rail project, a French development agency on Friday announced 200-million euro (Rs1,504 crore) as soft loan for its second phase.

Financing the Metro rail project was part of the credit facility agreement Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) signed with the Indian government in New Delhi on September 3.

www.afd.fr
www.afd.fr

Paris-based AFD is a public development finance institution, which implements the French government’s policies and supports projects that improve living conditions, boost economic growth and protect the planet through a network of 71 agencies the world over.

“The new funding is in addition to the 110-million euros we gave in 2012 for the project’s first phase,” AFD regional director (South Asia) Nicolas Fornage told reporters after signing an agreement with Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) managing director Pradeep Singh Kharola here.

The second phase project, estimated to cost a whopping Rs 26,405 crore at the 2011-12 price level for extending the 42 km first phase by an additional 72 km, was approved by the previous (UPA-2) government on January 30, 2014.

According to Kharola, the loan repayment will be over 15 years at interest rate linked to Euro inter-bank offered rate.

www.prokerala.com
www.prokerala.com

“The Metro rail project is aimed at improving the public transport system in the city, which has grown rapidly over the last two decades on IT boom and influx of people from all over the country,” Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said on the occasion.

Of the estimated cost, the central government would provide Rs 5,281 crore and the state government Rs 8,983 crore, while the remaining amount would be raised through debt from multilateral or bilateral funding agencies like AFD and JICA and Indian financial institutions.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had also contributed to the project’s first phase, while the Asian Development Bank has agreed to grant a $250 million (Rs165 crores) loan for the second phase.

The second phase is expected to be taken up in 2017 after the first phase, which is three years behind schedule, with its cost escalating to over Rs 12,000 crore from Rs 8,000 crore in 2008.

As the country’s third biggest city and hub of the new economy, Bengaluru has about one crore denizens, with 55 lakh vehicles and a floating population of 15-20 lakh daily.

“The Metro network across the expanded city will ease traffic congestion, reduce pollution and promote low-carbon mobility,” AFD said in a statement.

French consul-general Francois Gautier was also present on the occasion.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Narendra Modi Lashes Out at Karnataka Government Over Farm Loan Waiver

"Such a multi-level approach addresses the main issues that the youth of our country are faced with and empowers them to succeed in life," he said

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Modi, BJP
PM Modi said the BJP was not in politics for "divide and rule" or building vote banks.

Ridiculing the Karnataka government scheme to waive farm loans, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said it benefited a handful of farmers and the decision will go down in history as one of the “most cruel jokes” on them.

Interacting with BJP booth workers from Belagavi, Bidar, Davangere, Dharwad and Haveri in Karnataka through video conference, the Prime Minister also lashed out at the Karnataka government for the tussle over allocation of portfolios between the JD-S and the Congress ministers and accused them of indulging in corruption while ignoring governance.

“The farmers want attention. But those in power in Karnataka are steeped in arrogance. The common man wants development but those in power want only development of dynasty. People want corruption-free development, but they want development-free corruption,” he said.

The Prime Minister was responding to a query of a party worker from Belagavi who sought to know his views on the plight of farmers and other communities under the Karnatak government.

“What they have done in the name of loan waiver for the farmers will go down in history as one of the most cruel jokes on farmers. After six months in power, reports say the government could only benefit a handful of farmers with the loan waiver scheme. These people go around the country, claim credit for what they have done for the farmers. Will they also take credit for the farmers committing suicide?” Narendra Modi said.

His remraks come at a time when the BJP-led government at the Centre, which has a stated goal of doubling farmers incomes by 2022, is planning sops for the farmers as their plight has become a major cause for concern ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

The Congress has been portraying Modi-government as “anti-farmer” and had wooed voters in the recently concluded assembly polls in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan with farm loan waivers.

The Congress has promised farm loan waiver in Karnataka. Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, whose JD-S is a Congress ally, in his maiden Budget had announced that Rs 2 lakh farm loan till 2017 will be waived.

During his interaction, Modi also took a jibe at Congress for the ongoing tussle over allocation of portfolios among Congress ministers.

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi (Wikimedia Commons)

“Everyday there is in news as to who happy and who is unhappy. And for what? For some ministerial posts. It seems as the people in power in Karnataka are only there to play musical chair. The poor want care but those in power are only interested in cabinet berths,” he said.

The Prime Minister said those in power think that just because they have formed a government by hook or by crook, they can get away with anything.

“The people of Karnataka and the people of India are watching. They will soon teach them a lesson,” he said.

He said when those in power have given up all the responsibilities of governance, the BJP’s responsibility towards the people increases.

“In such a situation, it is the duty of our party to voice the aspirations of the people and wake up the government. When those in power are not interested in the welfare of the people, it is the duty of our ‘karyakartas’ to become the voice of the people,” he said exhorting the party workers ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

During his interaction, Modi also touched upon several key issues concerning the people of Karnataka and the country at large.

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Comparing the state of affairs in Karnataka with rest of the country under the BJP-led governments, he described numerous measures and initiatives taken by his government in sectors like MSMEs, tourism and education that have transformed these sectors.

Concluding his wide-ranging interaction at Haveri, he talked about the approach of his youth-led governance policies having four core elements, a 4E approach — Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship and Excellence.

“Such a multi-level approach addresses the main issues that the youth of our country are faced with and empowers them to succeed in life,” he said. (IANS)