The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India, on Wednesday, signed a US$300 million loan as additional financing to scale up the improvement of rural connectivity to help boost rural economy in the state of Maharashtra.
The additional financing for the ongoing Maharashtra Rural Connectivity Improvement Project will help improve an additional 1,100 rural roads and 230 bridges for a total length of 2,900 kilometres (km) in 34 districts. The ongoing project with US$200 million financing, approved in August 2019, is already improving and maintaining the condition and safety of 2,100 km of rural roads across Maharashtra, the Ministry of Finance, Government of India has said.
The signatories to the loan agreement were Rajat Kumar Mishra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, signing for the Government of India, and Takeo Konishi, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission signing for ADB.
“With the additional financing, the overall project will improve the condition and safety of 5,000 km of rural roads and over 200 bridges connecting rural communities with productive agricultural areas and socio-economic centres in Maharashtra,” said Mishra after signing the loan agreement.
“Improved connectivity through climate-resilient, all-weather rural roads will help accelerate Maharashtra’s economic recovery from Covid-19 shock by generating rural employment and transforming agriculture,” said Konishi.
The new project is expected to generate about 3.1 million person-days of employment for local communities, of which at least 25 per cent will be for women, over the construction and maintenance periods. A gender action plan has been prepared to focus on capacity development of women workers so that they can benefit from the semi-skilled and unskilled labour opportunities.
This additional financing will rebuild and rehabilitate roads and bridges in Maharashtra destroyed by the devastating floods in August 2019. The design incorporates flood and climate resilience measures, pilot test the use of environment-friendly materials on selected road segments, use of mobile mapping technology to monitor the project roads and utilise new technologies such as fibre-reinforced concrete and pre-cast concrete arch bridge.
ADB is focussing on achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.
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