WB approves agricultural-loan package for Tamil Nadu

Chennai: The World Bank has approved a $485-million (Rs2,134 crore) package for Tamil Nadu to modernise its irrigation infrastructure, according to a press release from the World Bank.

The World Bank project to restore traditional water bodies and improve irrigated agriculture and water management in the State is targeted to increase agriculture productivity. It will modernise irrigation system over 60,000 hectares, improve farm income and create 50,000 jobs.

The project is also designed to modernise irrigation systems spread across 63 sub-basins throughout the State.

There are 17 river basins in Tamil Nadu, and many of these are water stressed due to pollution, low supply and increasing competition from urban centres, the release said.

In the World Bank package, $335 million loan (Rs1,474 crore) is from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and has 20 years to maturity including a 5-year grace period.

The International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank's concessionary lending arm, is providing a credit of $150 million (Rs660 crore) with 35 years to maturity and a 10-year grace period.

The activities of various agencies in irrigation, on-farm development, agriculture, horticulture, marketing, livestock, fisheries and applied research will be integrated for agriculture development.