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$30 million for tsunami rehabilitation in Tamil Nadu

Staff Reporter

The project will cover affected communities, including fishermen, farm workers Project will cover affected communities



Putting their heads together: Lennart Bage, president, International Fund for Agriculture, and M.S. Swaminathan discussing a point at a press conference in Chennai on Thursday. — Photo: V. Ganesan

CHENNAI: The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has drawn up an integrated long-term project for rebuilding the livelihood of communities devastated by the December 26, 2004 tsunami.

The eight-year project has a $ 100-million funding component for India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Maldives and $30 million will be allotted for Tamil Nadu alone.

It will cover all affected communities, including fishermen and farm labourers.

The project, likely to start in a few weeks, will be a partnership among the IFAD, the State Government and community-based organisations, Lennart Bage, president, IFAD, told presspersons here on Thursday.

While the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank would be the funding partners, the State Government would bear 10 per cent of the cost.

The project would be carried out with technical assistance from the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation. The Union Ministry of Rural Development approved it.

The project would reach out to six lakh people, establishing self-help groups, addressing issues of natural resource management and creating knowledge pools in local communities.

Attention would be paid to health and education and to developing tools for the local population.

"Along with training for new skills and safety measures, we will look at infrastructure funding, establishing fish processing and marketing facilities and other micro-enterprises and vocational training," Mr. Bage said.

The focus would be on sustainable livelihood and how to disseminate knowledge tools among communities through locally-managed networks within the targeted villages.

National governments and local communities responded immediately to the post-tsunami needs, and the short-term objectives were met.

"The need now is to create market-driven enterprises for both agriculture and fishing. Though some of soil salinity caused by the tsunami has been washed away, a proper soil analysis is yet to be done. Initial work has started through our rural knowledge centres," said Prof. M.S. Swaminathan.

A public forum on rehabilitation would be held on the CLRI campus, Adyar here, at 6 p.m. on Friday to facilitate free-flow of information.

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