Multi-lateral funding agency Asian Development Bank (ADB) Friday said it has okayed USD 350 million loan for road project in Chhattisgarh.
ADB has approved a USD 350 million loan to rehabilitate and upgrade state highways and major district roads in Chhattisgarh, which will improve connectivity and access to basic services and livelihood opportunities, it said in a release.
Total project cost is USD 521.69 million of which the government will finance USD 171.69 million.
Chhattisgarh is overwhelmingly rural (about 96 per cent of the area) rich in natural resources and a major producer of minerals such as coal and iron ore.
However, according to the 2011 census, poverty levels were at about 38 per cent of the population, ADB said.
A safe and efficient road network will significantly contribute to state's economy and development, and thus contribute to poverty reduction in the state, it said.
"Chhattisgarh relies heavily on roads for the movement of people and goods, particularly in rural and semi-urban areas," said ADB Transport Specialist Andri Heriawan.
The project will boost access of the poor to socio-economic opportunities and to basic services such as healthcare and education, as well as improve the overall quality of life in influence areas along the roads, Heriawan said.
The Manila-headquartered funding agency said about 70 per cent of the state highways have only single or intermediate lanes, while most major and other district roads are single lanes.
While the number of registered vehicles has doubled from 2.1 million in 2009 to 4.8 million in 2016, the roads need widening and strengthening to cater for increased demand, especially from larger goods vehicles.
Recognising this importance, the state government has established a road development strategy that aims to provide safer and higher capacity road connectivity between the state capital, district centres, and other rural hubs, as well as to provide efficient linkages between existing key corridors, it added.
ADB said the road funding project will support state government's strategy by rehabilitating or upgrading two state highways and 23 major district roads totalling about 850 kilometres.
The selected roads will be widened from single or intermediate lane width to two to four lanes. The project will also strengthen the institutional capacity of the Chhattisgarh Public Works Department in road maintenance and safety.
In villages and built-up areas, the project roads will include bus stops accessible to the elderly, women, children, and persons with disabilities, and street lighting for better security and road safety.
Besides, climate adaptation measures are being incorporated in road design, such as increased road embankment height, increased dimension of drainage structures, and increased thickness and quality of bitumen.
The estimated completion date of the road project is mid-2024.
ADB supported Chhattisgarh's road sector through two previous loans. The first loan of USD 180 million closed in 2012 was used to improve about 1,700 km state highways.
Second loan of USD 300 million approved on 2012 covered an additional 916 km state highways.
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