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Centre, West Bengal govt, AIIB ink loan agreement for $145 mn project

Several institutional reforms are planned

West Bengal, Government of India, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, AIIB, Irrigation, Flood management, Damodar Valley Command Area, West Bengal Major Irrigation and Flood Management Project, Climate change, Groundwater, Desilting

The government of India, West Bengal government and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) inked a loan agreement for a $145 million project to improve irrigation services and flood management in the Damodar Valley Command Area (DVCA) in West Bengal.

The West Bengal Major Irrigation and Flood Management Project will benefit about 2.7 million farmers from five districts of the state across 393,964 ha area with better irrigation services and improved protection against annual flooding to mitigate the impact of climate change.

The project will assist in improving irrigation and agriculture in the Damodar Valley Command Area, by optimising the use of surface and groundwater and strengthening flood management, which will help boost agricultural productivity and increase incomes in rural areas.

The DVCA is over 60 years old requires modernisation. The project will invest in measures to reduce flooding, including strengthening of embankments and desilting.

Several institutional reforms are planned under the project. These include introduction of a modern Management Information System (MIS), benchmarking and evidence-based decision making, promotion of conjunctive use of surface and groundwater, introduction of rational asset management and improving transparency through citizen engagement.

Irrigation Service Providers will be recruited on a performance basis to improve the quality of irrigation services.

The total value of the project is $413.8 million, co-financed between the AIIB worth $145 million, IBRD worth $145 million and the government of West Bengal worth $123.8 million. The $145 million loan from the AIIB has a six year grace period, and a maturity of 24 years.

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