The government on Thursday signed a $177 million loan with the Asian Development Bank to upgrade 450 kms of state highways and major district roads in Maharashtra.
The upgrade will be carried out under the Maharashtra State Road Improvement Project.
According to an official statement from the Ministry of Finance, the signatories to the Maharashtra State Road Improvement Project were Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB), Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance who signed for the Government of India, and Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission who signed for ADB.
“The project is aimed at improving connectivity between rural areas and urban centres in the state enabling rural communities to better access markets, employment opportunities and services,” Khare said after signing the deal.
“Improved mobility will expand development and livelihood opportunities outside of the state’s major urban centres to second-tier cities and towns thus reducing income disparities,” he added.
Overall the project will upgrade 2 major district roads and 11 state highways, with a combined length of 450 km, to 2-lane standard across seven districts of Maharashtra, and improve connectivity to national highways, interstate roads, seaports, airports, rail hubs, district headquarters, industrial areas, enterprise clusters and agricultural areas, the statement added.
Giving more details, Yokoyama informed that the project will also strengthen road safety measures by developing a road safety audit framework that will protect vulnerable groups such as the elderly, women, and children, following the international best practice.
He added that another feature of the project is to update the road maintenance system by encouraging 5-year performance-based maintenance obligations to contractors to sustain asset quality and service levels.
The official statement stressed that the project will also focus on training the Maharashtra Public Works Department project staff to build their capacity in climate change adaptation and disaster-resilient features in road design, road maintenance planning and road safety.
Established in 1966, ADB is owned by 68 members among whom 49 are from the region.