NEW DELHI, INDIA – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India have signed a $200 million loan agreement to upgrade 176 kilometers (km) of state roads in Jharkhand State that will open up new economic opportunities and improve access to services for the poor.
The financing for the Jharkhand State Roads II Project will be used to upgrade sections of four state roads to two-lane standard, and to support improvements in the design, safety, and maintenance of the network.
“For faster growth, Jharkhand needs to improve its mobility and by upgrading these state roads, the project will support that goal, as well as helping the state develop an international-standard road safety master plan,” said Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Finance, who signed the agreement on behalf of the Government of India last Friday. “This project will enhance the state’s ability to systematically identify, analyze, develop and prioritize critical road safety measures to benefit all road users.”
“ADB started supporting improved road connectivity in the state with an initial loan in 2009 and the new assistance will continue the ongoing physical upgrades, as well as increasing the institutional capacity of the State Highways Authority of Jharkhand as an autonomous road development agency,” said M. Teresa Kho, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission, who signed the agreement for ADB.
Raj Bala Verma, Chief Secretary of the State of Jharkhand, also attended the loan signing ceremony.
The first loan supported upgrades to 311 kilometers (km) of state roads in Jharkhand and the new assistance will see the combined total increase to 487 km. The new project includes a number of safety and environmentally-friendly features including over 60 bus stop shelters; 50 km of raised sidewalks in urban areas; 4 km of dedicated bicycle lanes; and solar-powered streetlights. The project will also generate employment opportunities for residents of the adjoining areas, including for women, who will get a share of a least 20% of jobs for afforestation work alongside the upgraded roads.
The total cost of the project, which is due for completion in December 2019, is $306.25 million with the state government of Jharkhand providing counterpart assistance equivalent to $106.25 million.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB in December 2016 will mark 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2015, ADB assistance totaled $27.2 billion, including cofinancing of $10.7 billion.