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Govt to raise funds to complete impending irrigation projects

Sudhir Mungantiwar

Mumbai: The Maharashtra finance department is considering raising project-wise loans from the open market to complete impending irrigation projects in the state without disturbing the Governor’s directives on fund allocation for projects.

According to the Governor’s directives, funds from the state budget meant for different irrigation projects have to be allocated as per a prescribed formula to Marathwada, Vidarbha and remaining Maharashtra region.

Without the consent of the Governor, the state government does not have the authority to transfer funds from one region to another.

“We will take permission from the Governor to allow us to complete a specific irrigation project with help from funds that are raised from sources other than the state’s budget. This will ensure that a project is completed and at the same time (the Governor’s) directives are not disturbed,” state Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said.

“The government is considering to raise loans for a specific project and the money will be spent only on that particular project. We have various options to raise these funds like bonds, etc,” he said.

The minister said loans will be raised for projects worth more than Rs 5,000 crore and once the payment is available (for a particular project), it will be binding on to contractor to complete it within a time period of two years.

In the current fiscal, the government has made a provision of Rs 7,232 crore to complete 38 irrigation projects as part of the first phase.

There are a total of 404 such projects that are pending, Mungantiwar said.

“Another 41 projects will be taken up on a priority basis,” he said, noting that the percentage of irrigated land in Maharashtra is very less and the government wants to increase it.

“We will convince the Governor that the state government can certainly complete irrigation projects within a stipulated time period. And thus request him to allow us to spend money over such projects,” he said.

Mungantiwar said once the percentage of irrigated land is increased, the economy will get a boost.

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