World Bank approves loan of $37 million for Himachal

Shimla: The World Bank has approved additional tranche financing of $37 million for the ongoing Mid Himalayan Watershed Development Project in Himachal Pradesh to build sustainable watershed treatment models, an official statement said here Friday.

The original $60 million Mid Himalayan Watershed Development Project has been aimed at reversing the process of degradation of the natural resource base, improve productivity, and raise rural household incomes.

So far around 6,151 water harvesting tanks, 1,093 ponds and tanks, 287 dams, 263 irrigation schemes, 43 small underground tanks used for irrigation and 203 km of irrigation channels have been developed under the project, said the World Bank statement.

The project has so far converted about 9,000 hectare of rain-fed area into irrigated land through watershed management techniques.

The benefits from these structures have reached some 100,000 families, it added.

“The ongoing project has achieved many milestones. We hope this additional financing will help the state scale up its efforts at enhancing its natural resource base and contribute to improving the livelihoods of the people living in rain-fed areas,” said the statement quoting Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director for India.

The project will be financed by a credit from the International Development Association (IDA) – the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm – which provides interest-free loans with 25 years to maturity and a grace period of five years.

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