The Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) on Friday announced a total loan of USD 210 million for irrigation and solar energy projects in India. The multilateral institution will lend USD 145 million to improve irrigation services and strengthen flood risk management in West Bengal, while USD 65 million has been earmarked for a 250-megawatt (MW) solar project in Rajasthan promoted by Hero Future Energies, an official statement said here.
India is the second-largest shareholder of the bank and the largest recipient of its loan and equity commitments. The total commitments to the country stand at USD 3 billion, which is about a third of total of USD 10 billion. The irrigation project in West Bengal is co-financed by the World Bank and is expected to strengthen the management of the Damodar Valley Command Area irrigation scheme, the statement said.
The funds will also be used to modernise irrigation infrastructure at main, branch, distributary and minor canal levels and invest in structural measures to reduce flooding in the project area, it said. The bank statement said West Bengal has 37,660 square kilometres prone to floods out of its total area of 88,752 square kilometers and regularly faces floods, and climate change may only aggravate the problems.
“This investment will help thousands of farmers get adequate water through scientific water conservation and distribution methods,” its Vice-President and Chief Investment Officer D J Pandian was quoted as saying.
The body has also approved a USD 65-million 250-megawatt solar power project in Jodhpur promoted by independent power producer Hero, it said adding that there are plans to ramp up the capacity to 616 MW by 2022. The announcement comes a month after the bank had announced a USD 575 million funding to strengthen suburban rail network Mumbai and also a renewable energy project promoted by Tata.
Source: Financial Express