The West Bengal government is likely to get an additional allocation of Rs 157 crore from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) under the Rural infrastructure development fund (RIDF) for infrastructure development in Aila-hit districts of North and South 24-Parganas, particularly Sunderbans.
Nabard had sanctioned Rs 743 crore under RIDF for West Bengal this financial year. Nabard may increase the allocation up to Rs 900 crore
At a recent meeting with U C Sarangi, chairman, Nabard, West Bengal finance minister Asim Dasgupta requested the bank to further increase the yearly RIDF allocation for the state.
“Nabard had a favourable disposition to increase the RIDF allocation up to Rs 900 crore for infrastructure development in Aila-affected areas,” said P Mohanaiah, chief general manager, Nabard.
Nabard lends funds from RIDF at 6.5 per cent, while it gives 6 per cent interest rate to the commercial banks, which contribute to the fund to the extent of their shortfall in stipulated priority sector lending to agriculture.
In the Budget 2009-10, the Union government had allocated Rs 1,000 crore as relief after Aila. This apart, funds have also been released from the the Calamity Relief Fund (CRF). Recently, Nabard had sanctioned Rs 307.49 crore under RIDF to the state, which included, Rs 257 crore under RIDF XV and Rs 50 crore towards cost escalation of earlier tranches. Out of this, Rs 22.35 crore has been sanctioned for the development of market complexes in nine districts including Burdwan, Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, Hooghly, Malda, Nadia, North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore.
This investment is expected to generate recurring employment of 886 jobs per year and non-recurring employment of 9.15 lakh mandays. This apart, 74,900 farmers in 560 villages are expected to benefit from the project. Other projects sanctioned included 50 rural road projects (Rs 89 crore), 1286 minor irrigation projects (Rs 80 crore), 28 flood protection and soil erosion projects (Rs 38 crore), boundary walls for 1104 schools (Rs 20 crore and, fish market (Rs 4.76 crore) and one joint forest management project (Rs 2.85 crore). About Rs 89 crore was also sanctioned for construction and improvement of 50 rural road projects totaling 302 km in 14 districts.