ADB approves USD 300 million additional loan for rural roads in Maharashtra

  • Asian Development Bank on Friday said it has approved a USD 300 million loan as additional financing for the ongoing Maharashtra Rural Connectivity Improvement Project that is upgrading rural roads and connecting remote areas with markets.
  • The ongoing project, approved in August 2019, has been improving and maintaining the condition and safety of 2,100 kilometres (km) of rural roads across Maharashtra, the Manila-based bank said in a statement.
  • The additional financing will improve an additional 1,100 rural roads and 230 bridges for a total length of 2,900 km in 34 districts, the Multilateral funding agency added.
  • The additional financing aims to help accelerate Maharashtra’s economic recovery from COVID-19 devastation by generating rural employment and transforming agriculture, ADB Senior Rural Development Specialist for South Asia Masahiro Nishimura said.
  • The state government is aiming to increase the average growth rate of agriculture and allied activities to more than 5 per cent per year by 2030, it said.
  • The project will also provide last-mile connectivity to a large number of small villages, enhancing access to health and education facilities and greatly benefitting the poor and vulnerable population by increasing agriculture productivity, it added.
  • The additional financing is expected to generate about 3.1 million person-days of employment for local communities, of which at least 25 per cent will be for women, over the construction and maintenance periods, the statement noted.
  • The state government, acting through Maharashtra Rural Road Development Association as the executing agency, has developed a gender action plan, which focuses on the capacity development of women workers so that they can benefit from the semiskilled and unskilled labour opportunities, the bank said.
  • The latest financing will rebuild and rehabilitate roads and bridges in Maharashtra destroyed by the devastating floods in August 2019, it said.
  • The design incorporates flood and climate resilience measures, pilot test the use of environment-friendly materials on selected road segments, and utilise new technologies such as fibre-reinforced concrete and pre-cast concrete arch bridge, ADB added.
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