NEW DELHI, INDIA - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Government of India yesterday signed an agreement for $300 million in additional loan to upgrade 254 kilometers of severely deteriorated highway in northern and southern Bihar.
The additional financing for the Bihar State Highways II Project, which is already under implementation, will widen existing sections of four highways to two lanes, build and maintain bridges, and strengthen pavement. This should optimize access to the state highway network for beneficiaries living in remote villages.
"This project will also use a $1 million grant to prepare a 20-year road master plan for Bihar state," said Narhari Rao, Deputy Country Director of ADB's India Resident Mission, who signed the agreement on behalf of ADB. "This should help the national and state governments achieve their vision of improving the lives of its people by providing an efficient transport system."
ADB has supported Bihar's State Highway Development Program through assistance to Bihar State Highways Project I in 2008, followed by Project II in 2010. Together the projects are rehabilitating 1,209 km of state highways.
The project will also focus on improving the road design that will help address future flooding. To offset carbon emissions, the project will plant 10 trees for every individual tree cut for road widening. Solar panels will be used at construction sites to sequester carbon and reduce carbon emissions. Those living near the roads will also receive road safety training. Women will be actively involved.
"Better roads built under the project will help more people visit markets and production centers, and therefore will promote better life and inclusive growth for the people of Bihar, especially those who are living in remote locations without access to social and health services," said Nilaya Mitash, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Finance, who signed the agreement on behalf of Government of India.
The total cost of the project - due to be completed by October 2017 - is $375 million, with the Government of Bihar providing the remainder of the funds.