As many as one thousand projects in agriculture and allied sectors have been sanctioned with a total investment of ₹1,325 crore as a part of the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund rolled out by the West Bengal government. The projects include setting up of cold storages, oil and dal mills, packaging & grading facilities, warehouses and farm machinery hubs.

Of the total projects sanctioned, disbursements have been done for as many as 881 projects as on April 14, said an official press statement.

Read more: Bengal looking to grow export market for fruits, vegetables

The state government has been emphasising  the convergence of activities and efforts to strengthen agriculture infrastructure for the development of agriculture and allied sector in the State to enhance farmers’ income and employment opportunities by promoting value addition and better market connect.

Several steps have been initiated in the last few years in this direction, including the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund and convergence of subsidy linked schemes and proactively facilitating project finance by banks to create agricultural infrastructure by farmers, agri entrepreneurs, FPOs and PACS.

“Agriculture Infrastructure Fund as rolled out for implementation last year has remarkable outcome in short period and boosted agriculture infrastructure financing in all districts. Total sanctioned projects under the initiative has reached 1000 having project cost of ₹1,325 crore,” the release said.

More read: West Bengal emerges at the top in vegetable production

Agriculture Infrastructure Fund extends interest subvention of three per cent on project loan by banks, and loan up to ₹2 crore in each case is secured under Credit Guarantee Fund Trust, thereby no need for collateral security for loan sanction. In the case of PACS/ cooperatives, interest on project loans is only one per cent under the scheme. In addition, the applicant can avail of subsidy benefits under any scheme like farm mechanisation, financial assistance under agricultural marketing infrastructure schemes and MIDH schemes, among others.

Awareness about the scheme’s benefits, handholding for preparation of DPRs, application to banks and facilitating approvals by district-level monitoring committees under district magistrates and regular reviews at the State level with banks has made this initiative successful in entire State, it said.

Individual applications are tracked and followed up through a real-time project monitoring portal. Statutory r land, environment and fire clearances are cleared quickly through a single-window facility.