West Bengal govt, DEA, World Bank and AIIB sign loan agreements for $413 million major irrigation project
KOLKATA: West Bengal government, the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), the World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank(AIIB) have recently signed loan agreements for $413 million (Rs. 2931crore) West Bengal Major Irrigation and Flood Management Project (WBMIFMP) to improve irrigation and flood management in the Damodar Valley Command Area (DVCA) in Purba and Paschim Burdwan, Bankura, Hooghly and Howrah districts.
The project will benefit 27 lakh farmers of these five districts. The duration of the project is from 2020 to 2025.
The signatories to the agreements were Mr. Junaid Ahmed Khan, Country Director, World Bank, Mr. Rajat Kumar Mishra, Director General (Acting), AIIB, Mr Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, DEA, and Dr Krishna Gupta, Principal Resident Commissioner, West Bengal government.
Total estimated cost of the project is Rs. 2931 crore (US$ 413 Million), co-financed by the World Bank & Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) providing $145 million each as soft loan, totaling US$ 290 million which is 70% of the project cost.The remaining 30% ($ 123 million) is being funded by the West Bengal government.
The project was earlier approved by boards of both the banks between 10-12th December 2019.
West Bengal Major Irrigation and Flood Management Project was initiated by the State Irrigation & Waterways Department for revamping and modernizing the decade old DVC irrigation system in the districts of Purba & Paschim Bardhaman, Bankura and Hooghly and for controlling floods in the lower Damodar areas in Hooghly and Howrah.
In the Irrigation development component, the project will rehabilitate 2780 km length of DV canal network including reconstruction of the damaged structures, introduce Management Information System (MIS), promote conjunctive use of surface and groundwater and adopt globally accepted irrigation management practices for efficient delivery of irrigation water to the farmers. The flood management component includes strengthening of 98.5 km of flood embankments, de-siltation of 105 km of river and channels and re-modelling of 81 drainage sluices.
Availability of adequate surface water for irrigation will help reduce groundwater use and lead to crop diversification. The flood protection measures will significantly reduce damages caused by perennial flooding in lower Damodar valley areas in Hooghly and Howrah.
The project will improve livelihood of farmers and boost rural economy in the project area. Work on the flood improvement works of the project have already started on the ground after formal inauguration by the minister in charge, Irrigation & Waterways, Transport & Water Resources Investigation & Development Departments on 5th February, 2020.