The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India on Thursday signed a $177 million loan to upgrade 450 kilometers of state highways and major district roads in the state of Maharashtra.
For Government of India, Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB), Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance, while for the ADB, Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission were the signatories.
“The project will improve connectivity between rural areas and urban centers in the state enabling rural communities to better access markets, employment opportunities and services. Improved mobility will expand development and livelihood opportunities outside of the state’s major urban centers to second-tier cities and towns thus reducing income disparities,” Khare said.
Yokoyama said that the project will also strengthen road safety measures by developing a road safety audit framework that will protect vulnerable groups such as the elderly, women, and children, following the international best practice. Giving more details, Mr. Yokoyama said that another feature of the project is to update road maintenance system by encouraging 5-year performance-based maintenance obligations to contractors to sustain asset quality and service levels.
“Overall the project will upgrade 2 major district roads and 11 state highways, with combined length of 450 km, to 2-lane standard across seven districts of Maharashtra, and improve connectivity to national highways, interstate roads, seaports, airports, rail hubs, district headquarters, industrial areas, enterprise clusters and agricultural areas,” Ministry of Finance said in a statement.
The project will also focus on training the Maharashtra Public Works Department project staff to build their capacity in climate change adaptation and disaster-resilient features in road design, road maintenance planning and road safety, it added.
Established in 1966, ADB is owned by 68 members among which 49 are from the region.