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Business News/ News / India/  Cabinet clears 5,000-crore infra projects; approves higher minimum price for dried coconut
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Cabinet clears ₹5,000-crore infra projects; approves higher minimum price for dried coconut

The new MSPs mark an increase of Rs. 300 per quintal for milling copra and Rs. 250 per quintal for ball copra over the previous season.

Milling copra is used to extract oil, while ball/edible copra is consumed as a dry fruit and used for religious purposes.Premium
Milling copra is used to extract oil, while ball/edible copra is consumed as a dry fruit and used for religious purposes.

New Delhi: The Union government on Wednesday approved two infrastructure projects in Bihar and Tripura with total cost of about 5,000 crore. It also approved a higher minimum support price (MSP) for copra (dried coconut) for the 2024 season.

The projects announced by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) include the construction of a 4,556-metre, six-lane, high-level cable bridge across the Ganga, connecting Digha and Sonepur (NH-139W) in Bihar; and the widening of a 135-km stretch of the Khowai-Harina road in Tripura.

According to union minister for information & broadcasting Anurag Thakur, the total cost of the Digha-Sonepur bridge project is estimated at 3,064.45 crore, including civil construction cost of 2,233.81 crore. The bridge is expected to provide better connectivity between the north and south Bihar and promote the socio-economic growth in the region. 

Digha (situated at Patna on the south bank of the Ganga) and Sonepur (at north bank of the Ganga in Saran district) are presently connected by a rail-cum-road bridge while can handle light road vehicles only.

“The work is to be implemented on engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) mode with the use of the latest technology like 5D-building information modelling (BIM), bridge health monitoring system, and monthly drone mapping to ensure the quality of construction and operations," read an official statement. Work is expected to be completed in 42 months.

The CCEA, chaired by the prime minister, also approved the improvement and widening of a 134.913-km stretch of NH 208 from Khowai to Harina in Tripura to two lanes over the next two years. The project has an investment of 2,486 crore, including a loan of .1,511 crore from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). 

According to the minister, the project aims to facilitate better road connectivity between various parts of Tripura, provide alternative access to Assam and Meghalaya from Tripura, and generate more economic opportunities for the tribal and rural regions of the state.

The Union cabinet also fixed the MSP for milling copra at 11,160 per quintal and for ball copra at 12,000 per quintal for the 2024 season. It said this would ensure a margin of 51.84% for milling copra and 63.26% for ball copra. The new MSPs mark an increase of 300 per quintal for milling copra and 250 per quintal for ball copra over the previous season.

“A higher MSP will not only ensure better remunerative returns to the coconut growers but also incentivize farmers to expand copra production to meet the growing demand for coconut products both domestically and internationally." read the statement.

In the current season, the government has procured a record amount of copra (more than 1.33 lakh metric tonnes, or 227% more than in the previous season) at a cost of 1,493 crore from around 90,000 farmers.

Milling copra is used to extract oil, while ball/edible copra is consumed as a dry fruit and used for religious purposes. Kerala and Tamil Nadu are major producers of milling copra, whereas ball copra is produced mainly in Karnataka.

Other decisions taken by the union cabinet include approving a migration and mobility agreement between India and Italy, opening a consulate general of India in Auckland, and the signing of a memorandum of understanding between India and Malaysia for cooperation in broadcasting between Prasar Bharati and Radio Televisyen Malaysia.

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Published: 27 Dec 2023, 05:53 PM IST
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