Mumbai: Maharashtra will receive the biggest chunk of a National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) loan to complete 99 large and medium irrigation projects across the country, the state’s water resources minister said on Tuesday.
Out of the Rs.77,595 crore loan, Maharashtra will receive Rs.12,773 crore to complete 26 projects, minister Girish Mahajan said. The loan is for a period of 15 years at 6% rate of interest.
On Tuesday, the Union ministry of water resources and Nabard signed an agreement in this respect in Delhi.
“In July, the Union government took a policy decision to complete 99 long pending large and medium irrigation projects in the country under the prime minister’s krishi sinchai (farm irrigation) scheme. The government also decided to create a long-term irrigation fund to finance these projects. Nabard is lending for this fund,” Mahajan said.
Apart from Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Telangana will also get Nabard loans to complete irrigation projects.
Mahajan said Maharashtra’s 26 projects involve an additional irrigation potential of more than 850,000 hectares, of which 293,000 hectares have already been irrigated.
“The Nabard funding as well as monetary assistance from the Union government will help us complete the projects and realise the remaining irrigation potential of more than 5.56 lakh hectares. The important thing is that this is farm irrigation,” Mahajan said.
He said the Union government has agreed to provide an assistance of Rs.3,830 crore for these 26 projects. “The Centre has declared these projects as national projects and they are entitled to central grants,” he said.
A Maharashtra water resources ministry official, who did not wish to be identified, said the programme would be implemented as per the terms agreed by the Centre and various state governments in April 2012 under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP).
In 2012, the states where these 99 projects are located had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Centre which required the Centre to fund the total cost of the project with an assistance of additional 20% of the cost on account of cost escalation. However, the states have to fund cost escalation beyond 20% of the project cost and additional compensation under the new land acquisition laws.
According to the National Register of Large Dams available on the website of Central water Commission, Maharashtra accounts for 35% of the national projects or 1,845 irrigation projects which is highest in the country. However, the state has managed to extend the benefit of irrigation to only 18% of its cultivable land.