The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India today signed a USD 177 million loan to upgrade 450 kilometers (km) of state highways and major district roads in the state of Maharashtra.
The signatories to the Maharashtra State Road Improvement Project were Mr Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB), Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance who signed for the Government of India, and Mr Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB's India Resident Mission who signed for ADB, a government release informed.
After signing the loan agreement, Mr Khare said the project will improve connectivity between rural areas and urban centres 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.
Mr. 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.
Overall the project will upgrade 2 major district roads and 11 state highways, with combined length of 450 km, to 2-lane standard across seven districts of Maharashtra, and improve connectivity to national highways, interstate roads, seaports, airports, rail hubs, district headquarters, industrial areas, enterprise clusters and agricultural areas.
The project will also focus ontraining the Maharashtra Public Works Department project staff to build their capacity inclimate change adaptation and disaster resilient features in road design, road maintenance planning and road safety, the release stated.