NEW DELHI, INDIA (1 October 2018) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India today signed a $150 million loan to finance continued improvements to road connectivity and efficiency of the international trade corridor in northern part of West Bengal and northeastern region of India.
The signatories to the tranche 2 loan agreement for the $500 million South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Investment Program were Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB), Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance, who signed on behalf of the Government of India; and ADB Country Director for India Mr. Kenichi Yokoyama, who signed for ADB. Approved in 2014, the program aims to expand about 500 kilometers (km) of roads in India’s North Bengal and northeastern region that will enable efficient and safe transport within India and regionally with other SASEC member countries.
“The program is an important initiative in regional connectivity aimed at increasing domestic and regional trade through North Bengal-Northeastern Region international trade corridor by upgrading key roads,” said Mr. Khare after signing the loan agreement.
“The new loan will help upgradation of key national and state highways in Manipur and construct an important international bridge for crucial last-mile connectivity between in-country trunk road network and neighboring countries,” said Mr. Yokoyama.
The project's second tranche will upgrade about 66 km of national highways in Manipur, construct about 1.5 km of an international bridge between India and Nepal, and provide additional financing for the construction of about 103 km of a state highway in Manipur. The project will reduce transaction costs along the targeted cross-border corridors substantially, creating economies of scale and commercial prosperity.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.