India signs $350m ADB loan for road improvements in Chhattisgarh
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India on Tuesday signed a $350 million loan to rehabilitate and upgrade about 850 kilometers (km) of state highways and major district roads in Chhattisgarh, which will improve transport connectivity and enhance people’s access to basic services and livelihood opportunities.
The signatories to the loan agreement for the Chhattisgarh Road Connectivity Project, which was approved by ADB in May 2019, were Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB) for the Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, on behalf of the Government of India, and ADB’s Deputy Country Director for India Mr. Sabyasachi Mitra, on behalf of ADB. The project agreement was signed by the Government of Chhattisgarh’s Engineer-in-Chief and Project Director Mr. D. K. Agarwal.
“Improving road connectivity across the country is a priority for the Government of India, and this project is expected to meet the demand for a safe and efficient road network in Chhattisgarh,” said Mr. Khare after signing the loan agreement. “State highways and major district roads are key links to economic growth centers. Continued development of the road network will foster inclusiveness and contribute to poverty reduction in the state.”
“ADB has been supporting the Government of Chhattisgarh’s road transport subsector through two earlier loans, approved in 2003 and 2012. Through this new loan, ADB continues its engagement in the state while introducing innovative approaches in road safety and road maintenance practices,” said Mr. Mitra. A key element of the project is the use of performance-based maintenance contracts to improve road asset quality and sustainability.
The project will rehabilitate or upgrade two state highways and 23 major district roads totaling about 850 km in length. The selected roads will be rehabilitated or upgraded from single- or intermediate-lane width to two- or four-lane width with hard shoulder in built-up areas. The project will also strengthen the institutional capacity of the Chhattisgarh Public Works Department in road maintenance and safety.
The project roads will include bus stops in villages and built-up areas, which are accessible to the elderly, women, children, and persons with disabilities, as well as street lighting for security and road safety, especially in accident-prone areas.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion.