West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that work for a Rs 2,500 crore World Bank project to improve irrigation facilities and flood protection measures in the Lower Damodar Basin, benefiting the people of five districts will start from January.
She said that large water supply projects are also going on in drought-prone Purulia and Bankura districts, apart from South 24 Parganas, to provide people with safe drinking water and irrigation facilities.
Addressing an administrative meeting, Ms Banerjee said, "Work for the Rs 2,500 crore Lower Damodar Basin project of the World Bank which will cover the districts of Purba and Paschim Bardhaman, Howrah, Hooghly and Bankura will start from January."
The Centre, the government of West Bengal and the World Bank had on May 15 this year signed a loan agreement for a $145 million project to improve irrigation system across a total area of 3,93,964 hectare in the historically flood-prone Lower Damodar basin region.
The project which will benefit about 27 lakh farmers of the five districts also seeks to improve protection against annual flooding, according to the World Bank.
At the administrative meeting, Ms Banerjee asked the Public Health Engineering (PHE) department to speed up work on ongoing projects in South 24 Parganas, Purulia and Bankura.
Work for the project in Purulia has been delayed over certain issues raised by an international funding agency, she said.
A senior PHE official told the chief minister that tendering process for the Purulia water supply project has started and the work order is likely to be issued by December.
She directed the PHE and Urban Development departments to ensure enough supply of water during the dry season in drought-prone Purulia and Bankura districts.
A PHE official said that schemes for ensuring supply of water, including the boring of 400 tube wells, in the districts of Purulia and Bankura have already been taken.