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The Andhra Pradesh government is hoping to secure a 60 million USD loan from the World Bank to take up the Rejuvenating Watersheds for Agriculture Resilience through Innovative Development (REWARD) project in five parched districts of the state over the next six years.
The total cost of the project, which would be taken up in the four Rayalaseema districts of Anantapuramu, Chittoor, Kadapa and Kurnool besides Prakasam in south coastal AP, is expected to be around Rs 500 crore.
While the World Bank would fund 70 per cent of the project cost, the state and the central governments have to share the balance, a senior official of the Panchayat Raj Department said.
The REWARD project would be implemented in Karnataka and Odisha apart from AP, with the World Bank lending a sum of 178 million USD for the three states. The total project cost in the three states is estimated to be 350 million USD.
A team of World Bank officials, led by Task Team leader Priti Kumar and co-leader Grant Milne, held talks separately with state Panchayat Raj Minister P R C Reddy and Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney and discussed the project modalities.
"The project is in a preliminary stage and the World Bank has agreed in principle to grant the loan. We hope to get about 60 million USD from the Bank," Panchayat Raj Commissioner M Girija Shankar told PTI after the meeting.
Efficient water management, soil fertility improvement, adoption of standard agricultural practices and enhancement of cultivation are some of the salient features of the proposed project. Protection of water resources in areas of scarcity and optimum utilisation of water using proper management techniques would be the key features of the project.
The project would be implemented on a convergence mode involving different departments and also the MGNREGP, official sources said.
The state government would form a consortium comprising the State Rural Development Agency, Agriculture Department, AP Space Applications Centre and the Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University to oversee the project.