ADB, India sign $200-mn pact to upgrade state roads
The Dollar Business Bureau
The Indian government has signed an agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a $200 million loan to upgrade 176 km roadways in Jharkhand. The Department of Economic Affairs Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions) Raj Kumar and ADB’s India Resident Mission Country Director M Teresa Kho signed the agreement in New Delhi on Friday.
The loan amount will be used to finance Jharkhand State roads II Project in upgrading 176 km stretch of four roads into a two-lane standard. The agreement will also support in improving the design, safety and maintenance of the road network.
Raj Kumar said that Jharkhand needs to improve its roads in order to achieve rapid growth. The project will help the state to develop a global standard road safety master plan. This will promote road safety in Jharkhand, and improve its ability to thoroughly identify, analyse, develop and prioritise road safety measures for the benefit of road users, he said.
Teresa Kho said that ADB has been supporting the goals of Jharkhand in enhancing its road network. In 2009, ADB had offered a loan for upgrading 311 km roads in the state. The new loan will continue the upgradation of the state roads. This will also increase the institutional capacity of State Highways Authority of Jharkhand (SHAJ) as autonomous road development agency. According to Teresa Kho with the financial assistance of ADB, both the projects will enhance 487 km of highways in Jharkhand.
The Chief Secretary of Jharkhand Raj Bala Verma spoke about the significance of the project for Jharkhand. He said the total cost of the project is around $306.25 million, it is expected to be completed by the end of 2019. Other than the loan amount received from ADB, the Jharkhand government will provide financial assistance of up to $106.25 million for the project.
More than 60 bus shelters, 50 km sidewalks, 4 km bicycle lanes and solar-powered street lights are some of the environmentally friendly features that include in the project design. The project would create employment opportunities for local residents including women, who will get a share of 20% jobs in the afforestation work alongside the upgraded roads.