India signs $177 mn loan with ADB to upgrade roads in Maharashtra

New Delhi (NVI): The Centre today signed a USD 177 million loan with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to upgrade 450 kilometers of state highways and major district roads in the state of Maharashtra, the Ministry of Finance said.

The project will upgrade 2 major district roads and 11 state highways, with a combined length of 450 km, to 2-lane standard across seven districts of Maharashtra, the Ministry said in a statement.

The project will improve connectivity to national highways, interstate roads, seaports, airports, rail hubs, district headquarters, industrial areas, enterprise clusters and agricultural areas, it said.

The project will also focus on training the Maharashtra Public Works Department project staff to build their capacity in climate change adaptation and disaster-resilient features in road design, road maintenance planning and road safety.

The signatories to the Maharashtra State Road Improvement Project were Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB), Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance who signed on the behalf of GOI, and Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission who signed for ADB.

After signing the loan agreement, Khare said that the project will improve connectivity between rural areas and urban centers in the state enabling rural communities to better access markets, employment opportunities and services.

“Improved mobility will expand development and livelihood opportunities outside of the state’s major urban centers to second-tier cities and towns thus reducing income disparities,” he said.

ADB’s Yokoyama said that the project will also strengthen road safety measures by developing a road safety audit framework that will protect vulnerable groups such as the elderly, women, and children, following the international best practice.

“Another feature of the project is to update road maintenance system by encouraging 5-year performance-based maintenance obligations to contractors to sustain asset quality and service levels,” he added.

Established in 1966, ADB is owned by 68 members—49 from the region. The Bank is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.