India signs loan pact with a leading Bank to improve NE region roads
The Dollar Business Bureau The Government of India (GoI), on Thursday, entered into a loan agreement with the Asia Development Bank (ADB) for improving domestic and regional trade along the North Bengal (NB)-North Eastern (NE) Region. The loan, being the first move under a $500 million multi-tranche South Asian Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Investment Program, aims at constructing roads covering 500 kms along the NB-NE region. Speaking on the occasion, Tarun Bajaj, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, GoI, said, that ‘besides the road connectivity, the project will also improve the efficiency of international trade corridors by expanding roads in the region.’ The investment on the ‘last mile’ connectivity will also help in achieving the regional and inclusive growth of regional and economically lagging regions, he added. Meanwhile, Teresa Kho, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission, said the improvements in road connectivity will also enable efficient and safe transport within India and regionally with other SASEC member countries. The first project under the $500 million multi-tranche, will be focused on constructing two national highways totaling 150kms in West Bengal and State roads totaling 180 kms in Manipur, extending to Myanmar and will be completed by December 31, 2021, said the release. The first step of the project involving ADB’s loan of $300 million constitutes to 71% of the total project cost of $425 million, with the Central and State governments providing a counter finance of $125 million. Under the SASEC program, the South-Asian countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka come together for a project-based partnership aimed at promoting each other’s economic opportunities, regional prosperity, among others.
This article was published on March 26, 2015.