Maharashtra govt seeks US $600 million loan from World Bank

New Delhi: Maharashtra government has sent a proposal to the World Bank seeking a loan of US $600 million for a water conservation project to be implemented in about 20,000 drought-hit villages of the state, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Sunday.

“State government has sent a proposal to the World Bank seeking a loan of US $600 million on low interest rate… it is anticipated to be sanctioned shortly. We envisage to utilise the fund by implementing a water conservation project in nearly 20,000 villages in next five years,” Fadnavis said while addressing a farmers’ rally in Kagal tehsil.

He said the project, aided by the World Bank, will help drought-stricken villages overcome parched conditions which have been prevalent in the state for the last couple of years. The chief minister said far more investment is needed in agriculture for sustainable and reasonable farming.

He appealed to the farmers and others to participate in the state-run Jalayukt Shivar Yojana. “We have to focus on proper water management and will have to create water bodies in a decentralised manner. Big dams are necessary but decentralised water bodies are also necessary,” Fadnavis said.

The chief minister also explained about the relation between drip and micro irrigation and better productivity in farms and said there is huge difference in irrigation through canals and drip. “Drip irrigation definitely improves productivity.

Keeping this in mind, state government is now in favour of supplying water through pipes instead of canals,” he said. Meanwhile, Fadnavis said that development of Kolhapur airport is on the priority list of the government.

Addressing a function of local industrialists at Shiroli, the chief minister appealed to them to contribute towards ‘Make in India’. He also assured his government’s support in introducing modern technology in foundry units in Kolhapur.