World Bank to assist Bengal for irrigation: Pranab

Bhagabanpur(WB): The World Bank will extend financial assistance for undertaking minor irrigation projects in West Bengal, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said today.

"The World Bank will provide aid for Rs 1,250-crore minor irrigation project in the state," Mukherjee said at the launch of the flood control project of the Keleghai, Kopaleswhari and Baghai rivers in East Midnapore district here. He said that not much work had been done before for undertaking minor irrigation schemes for which the state had suffered from shortage of foodgrain production.

Heaping praise on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for coming forward to find a permanent solution to flood control in the area, Mukherjee said that the aspirations of the people living in 10/12 blocks in East and West Midnapore districts had not been met in the past.

"During monsoon, people residing in the area are affected by flood every year. In the 2010-11 budget when Banerjee was the railway minister and Bengal was in the cusp of a political change, I had announced that prevention of erosion of major rivers like Keleghai-Kopaleshwari and Padma-Ganga will be taken up as a national programme", he said.

He said that the flood control measures of the three rivers of Keleghai, Kopaleshwari and Baghai would cost Rs 650 crore. "The Centre will provide 75 per cent of the cost and the state the rest. The project will be completed in three years," he said.