After two decades of partnership with the Asian Development Bank, the city Kolkata is on a path to becoming a greener and more liveable, sustainable, inclusive and resilient metropolis.
Kolkata’s partnership with ADB began with grants to strengthen municipal finance. In 2000, a $250 million loan from ADB funded urgent improvements to sewerage and drainage. This was followed by a series of phased investments to plan integrated urban development.
Gaps remain and work in the city is far from complete, but policy reforms and improvements in the delivery of urban services are turning Kolkata into a modern city.
Kolkata, India - Over twenty years ago, the Asian Development Bank began a partnership with Kolkata. One of India’s oldest cities, Kolkata has faced many longstanding challenges, including Chronic flooding, the specter of climate change, lack of a clean environment.
"In 1989, the way to my house was badly damaged, making it difficult to walk," says Shyamoli Chakraborty, a resident of Slum Colony, from Kolkata's Olai Chandi area.
"When it rained, the water level would rise, overflow and flood our homes."
Amid an expanding population and increasing congestion, the city’s urban services could not cope.
"There was a dire need for infrastructure development such as sewerage drainage and water supply," comments Soumya Ganguly, Project Director General of the Kolkata Environment Investment Program, which is part of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.
"The Kolkata Municipal Corporation with the help of Government of West Bengal approached the Asian Development Bank for a loan for financing infrastructure and development."
Kolkata’s partnership with ADB began modestly with grants to strengthen municipal finance, specifically with a $250 million loan from ADB in 2000 funded urgent improvements to sewerage and drainage.
What followed was a series of phased investments to plan integrated urban development.
"This partnership between Kolkata Municipal Corporation and the Asian Development Bank is a good example of how a development bank and its client can work together to build the capacity of the urban bodies and bring policy reforms and improve the delivery of urban services," says Hun Kim, Director General of ADB's South Asia Department.
Some project work took place in a difficult urban environment.
Innovative approaches such as micro-tunneling were needed to lay new drainage pipes in congested areas.
"Brand new pipes were laid and connected right from the main road up to our house, running all the way through the narrow lanes," says Chandra Mondol, a resident of Slum Colony, from Kolkata's Olai Chandi area.
Gaps remain and work in the city is far from complete. But after two decades of partnership, Kolkata is on the path to becoming a greener and more liveable, sustainable, inclusive and resilient.