The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India today signed a $350 million loan to improve the connectivity of key economic areas in the state of Maharashtra.
The signatories to the Connecting Economic Clusters for Inclusive Growth in Maharashtra project were Shri Rajat Kumar Mishra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance who signed for the Government of India, and Mr Hoe Yun Jeong, Officer-in-Charge of ADB’s India Resident Mission, who signed for ADB.
After signing the loan agreement Shri Mishra stated that the project will 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 Mr. 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 kilometers (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, Nagur, Nanded, Nashik, Pune, Sangli, and Satara. 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 project will construct 5 km of major district roads connecting Nanded and neighboring Telangana. The project will promote gender equality and social inclusion in highway programs, schools, health, and social services and set up integrated service centers to provide basic sanitation, education, and other services. Skills training for enterprises led by poor women and disadvantaged groups will be conducted to provide livelihood opportunities. 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.