‘We need competent contractors’

    The Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions) in the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance Shri Venu Rajamony with Asian Development Bank Country Director for India Hun Kim signing a loan agreement between the country and the bank on January 2011. Photo by: Press Information Bureau, Government of India

    While foreign aid is most needed in underdeveloped, fragile and post-conflict states, top contractors aren’t always willing to carry out development projects in these regions, even once funding materializes. This lack of equilibrium of demand and supply can be found in forgotten and hot spot corners worldwide — including places like the northeastern pocket of India.

    The Asian Development Bank has invested nearly $1 billion in Assam, one of seven states that comprise India’s remote northeastern region.

    But contractors aren’t following the money.

    “We need competent contractors. But because of the geographical location of the region and distance, it is difficult to attract competent contractors to the region,” Hun Kim, ADB country director for India, was reported as saying during a multilateral development forum in Shillong, in India’s Meghalaya state.

    In July, the Asian Development Bank announced plans to provide the northeastern region with a $74.8 million loan to improve and upgrade roads between the different states. But the region has also recently been plagued by political strife: In the same month, ethnic riots in Assam killed at least 30 and forced tens of thousands of people out of their homes.

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    About the author

    • Amy Lieberman

      Amy Lieberman is an award-winning journalist based in New York City. Her coverage on politics, social justice issues, development and climate change has appeared in a variety of international news outlets, including The Guardian, Slate and The Atlantic. She has reported from the U.N. Headquarters, in addition to nine countries outside of the U.S. Amy received her master of arts degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in May 2014. Last year she completed a yearlong fellowship on the oil industry and climate change and co-published her findings with a team in the Los Angeles Times.

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