In an effort to continue improving the rural roads and to provide better connectivity in the rural areas of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal, the Government of India signed a US$ 273 million loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank in New Delhi today.
The loan represents the third tranche, which is also the last tranche of the US$ 800 million financing facility under the Rural Connectivity Investment Program. The loan will help in constructing over 6,000 kilometers of all-weather rural roads in these five States, benefiting over 4,200 rural habitations.
S Selvakumar, Joint Secretary (Bilateral Cooperation), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance signed the agreement on behalf of the Government of India while Teresa Kho, Country Director signed the agreement for ADB.
Speaking on the occasion, Selvakumar said that the program has supported the Government’s objectives under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) by providing all-weather road connectivity in selected rural areas in the five states. He said that the enhanced connectivity will improve access of rural communities to markets, district headquarters, health and education facilities, and other centres of economic activity.
The ADB Country Director said on the occasion that it is expected that Project 3 will result in benefits similar to the previous two projects including improving and sustaining the connectivity of selected rural communities in the five States. She said that this loan will be used to make further investments as well as supporting improved road design, road safety and asset management measures, and training, with women actively involved in all aspects.
The Ministry of Rural Development is the executing agency of the project at the central level, while the State governments have been entrusted with overall implementation at their respective state. The third tranche is expected to be completed by December, 2017. The implementing agencies at the State level will be the respective State Rural Roads Development Agencies.