New Delhi [India], January 4 (ANI): The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India have signed a USD 350-million loan to improve the connectivity of key economic areas in the state of Maharashtra.
Rajat Kumar Mishra, Additional Secretary, department of economic affairs in the ministry of finance, and Hoe Yun Jeong, Officer-in-Charge, India Resident Mission, ADB, have signed the project for Connecting Economic Clusters for Inclusive Growth in Maharashtra.
After signing the loan agreement, Mishra on Tuesday stated that the project would help address intra-regional disparities by improving connectivity, facilitating access to services, and accelerating inclusive economic growth of lagging districts in the state.
“This project builds on ADB’s ongoing support to upgrade state highways and major district roads in Maharashtra,” said Jeong. “It demonstrates approaches and practices that are not yet common practice, including road safety demonstration corridors; climate change adaptation and disaster-risk reduction; and highway works programs responsive to the needs of women, children, the elderly, and people with disability.”
At least 319 kilometres (km) of state highways and 149 km of district roads will be upgraded incorporating climate and disaster-resilient features to strengthen the state’s core road network in the 10 districts of Ahmednagar, Hingoli, Jalna, Kohalpur, Nagpur, Nanded, Nashik, Pune, Sangli, and Satara, according to a statement from the ministry of finance. This will help connect underdeveloped rural communities with off-farm opportunities and markets, improve access to health and social services and improve agricultural value chains by reducing transport costs for small- and medium-sized enterprises.
In addition, the ministry also said the project would construct 5 km of major district roads connecting Nanded and neighbouring Telangana. The project will promote gender equality and social inclusion in highway programmes, schools, health, and social services and set up integrated service centres to provide basic sanitation, education, and other services, according to the statement from the ministry of finance. Skills training for enterprises led by poor women and disadvantaged groups will be conducted to provide livelihood opportunities.
According to the statement, the project will demonstrate the private sector’s effectiveness in undertaking long-term road maintenance for greater life-cycle quality and operational efficiency. It will also develop a good practice handbook for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in road design and maintenance. (ANI)
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