ADB gives $800 m to build 9,000 km of rural roads

T. E. Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on July 13, 2012 Published on July 13, 2012

Smooth days ahead: The programme will connect villages in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal with all-weather roads by the end of 2017.   -  Business Line

This is first tranche of $1.2-billion programme covering 5 States

A loan of $800 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will help build 9,000 km of rural roads in five States. The four-part aid will connect 4,200 far-flung communities to crucial markets and services, the Bank said in a statement.

All-weather roads

The investment is part of a larger $1.2-billion programme to connect villages in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal with all-weather roads by the end of 2017. The Government of India will finance the remainder of the programme.

ADB’s Board of Directors today approved the investment and the first $252-million tranche under the programme.

Subsequent tranches will be released when the ADB is assured that activities under the previous tranche are on target.

“Thousands of kilometres of highways between major cities criss-cross India but building the final connection from the main roads to smaller towns and villages will mean farmers can transport their goods to markets, men and women can seek jobs, and children can get to schools and hospitals,” said Mr Juan Miranda, Director General of ADB’s South Asia Department. Across India, many communities have no direct link to nearby towns or villages or, at best, use unmade roads that are often washed out or destroyed during the rainy season.

In many parts of these States, roads are unusable for up to 90 days a year. This has held back development in large swathes of the countryside. The poverty rate in the five States covered by the project is among the highest in India, the Bank said.

Gram sadak scheme

Since 2000, the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, the nationwide rural road investment programme, has built nearly 1,09,000 km of rural roads in the five States, connecting nearly 40,000 communities to bigger transport hubs.

Plans are on to construct 32,000 km more. The ADB has already provided $1.15 billion through two separate projects in 2003 and 2005 to help finance those roads.

The ADB loan will also be used to improve road planning and maintenance; upgrade road design and safety; and build the skills of engineers, site supervisors and technicians.

It will do that by setting up and supporting the roll out of six Rural Road Network Management Units and one Rural Connectivity Training and Research Centre in each State, the Bank said.

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Published on July 13, 2012
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