The Centre Thursday approved a Rs 10,211-crore project—to be funded mostly via external sources—to strengthen around 700 dams across the country over a period of ten years.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
After the meeting, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat told the media: “Almost 80 per cent of these dams are over 25 years of age… a scientific approach is needed for the maintenance and operation of these dams at present.”
The major chunk of financing for the project will come from external agencies such as the World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
“The share of external funding is Rs 7,000 crore of the total project cost, and balance Rs 3,211 crore is to be borne by the concerned Implementing Agencies (IAs). The contribution of Central Government is Rs 1,024 crore as loan liability and Rs 285 crore as counterpart funding for Central Component,” said the statement.
The “comprehensive rehabilitation of 736 existing dams” across the country will be carried out under two phases.
“The project will be implemented over a period of 10 years duration in two phases, each of six years duration with two years overlapping from April, 2021 to March, 2031,” said a statement on the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) Phase II and Phase III. The first phase of the programme was started in 2012; 223 dams were covered under this phase.
Ethanol prices hiked
The Union Cabinet Thursday also raised ethanol procurement prices for state-owned oil marketing companies by 4.4%-6.1% depending on the raw material they use for ethanol production. Ethanol is blended with petrol to reduce carbon emissions and import dependence.
The CCEA raised prices of ethanol from sugar from Rs 59.48 per litre to Rs 62.25/litre. The price of ethanol derived from ‘C’ heavy molasses was increased by Rs 1.94 to Rs 45.69 and that of ‘B’ heavy molasses was raised by Rs 3.34/litre to Rs 57.61/litre. These revised prices will apply to the supply of ethanol to public sector oil marketing companies for 2020-21 Ethanol Supply Year from Dec 2020 -Nov 2021.
“This move will benefit farmers and sugar mills” said Javadekar. Higher ethanol prices will help farmers get their arrears from sugar mills sooner, he said.
Move to boost jute demand
The CCEA decided that 100% of foodgrains and 20% of sugar produced in the country must be packed in diversified jute bags.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said: “This is a big decision to boost the demand of jute in years to come… with this guarantee of the government and with rising import duties on the imported jute, the farmers will benefit.”
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