World Bank funding sought for water management project

RESTORATION EFFORT: Road work under progress at Triplicane in Chennai on Monday. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

RESTORATION EFFORT: Road work under progress at Triplicane in Chennai on Monday. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan  

Special Correspondent

Government committed to speedy revival of the farm economy

CHENNAI: The State Government is seeking World Bank funding for its Rs.3,900-crore Irrigated Agriculture Modernisation and Water Resources Management Project.

Governor Surjit Singh Barnala, who addressed the Assembly here on Friday, called the project a "boon" to the State.

"This project is in an advanced stage of preparation." Interlinking of rivers held the key to addressing the problems of a water-stressed State such as Tamil Nadu.

Pointing out that the Government remained committed to speedy revival and consolidation of the farm economy, Mr. Barnala said recurrent drought followed by the unprecedented floods in 2005 underscored the need to focus on comprehensive management of water resources.

"Apart from compensation for crop losses on account of drought and floods in the recent past, Rs. 98 crore has been released for the crop insurance claims made by farmers during Kharif 2000 to Rabi 2004-2005."

Mr. Barnala reiterated the State Government's opposition to the Andhra Pradesh Government's reported plan for a reservoir across the Palar.

Of the 318 combined water supply schemes taken up for implementation during 2001-06, 223 schemes, assuring protected water supply to 10,043 rural habitations and 91 towns, had been completed.

On the 100-milion litres a day (MLD) desalination plant project, the Governor said: "This House urges the Union Government to accord immediate environmental clearance so that this project benefiting the citizens of Chennai can be taken up at once."

He said the Government gave a "tremendous fillip" to upgrading road connectivity across the State.

The capital budget for roads and bridges had gone up more than eight times, from Rs. 257 crore in 2001-02 to Rs. 2,081 crore in 2005-06. "The Government has taken up on a war footing the restoration of roads damaged in the recent floods. Never has a Government invested so much in providing basic infrastructure, namely, the road network." On the power front, the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board had maintained "quality power supply" to all its consumers without any power cut since 2001.

The Union Government had effected a 14 per cent reduction in coal linkage to the thermal power stations of the TNEB in 2005 and this would continue in the coming years.

Thanks to the steps taken by the Government to enhance generation capacity during 2005-2010, projects to generate 4,000 megawatt had been initiated. Besides, the Neyveli Lignite Corporation would implement a new 1000 MW plant at Jayamkondan.

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