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

The ongoing project, approved in August 2019, has been improving and maintaining the condition and safety of 2,100 km of rural roads across Maharashtra, the Manila-based bank said in a statement

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

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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