India and AfDB sign $ 300 million loan agreement to scale up improvements in rural connectivity in Maharashtra
New Delhi: The Asian Development Bank (AfDB) and the Government of India today signed a loan of $ 300 million as additional financing to accelerate improvements in rural connectivity to boost the rural economy in the state of Maharashtra. Additional funding for the ongoing Maharashtra Rural Connectivity Improvement Project will improve 1,100 additional rural roads and 230 bridges for a total length of 2,900 kilometers (km) in 34 districts. The ongoing project with funding of $ 200 million, approved in August 2019, is already improving and maintaining the condition and safety of 2,100 km of rural roads across Maharashtra. The signatories of the loan agreement were Mr. Rajat Kumar Mishra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Signatory for the Government of India, and Mr. Takeo Konishi, Country Director of the Indian Resident Mission of ADB signatory for the AfDB. “With the additional funding, the overall project will improve the condition and safety of 5,000 km of rural roads and over 200 bridges connecting rural communities to productive agricultural areas and socio-economic centers in Maharashtra,” Mr. Mishra after signing the loan agreement. âImproving connectivity through climate-resilient, all-season rural roads will help accelerate Maharashtra’s economic recovery from the shock of COVID-19 by generating rural jobs and transforming agriculture,â Mr. Konishi. The new project is expected to generate around 3.1 million person-days of employment for local communities, of which at least 25% for women, during periods of construction and maintenance. A plan of action on gender equality has been prepared to focus on developing the capacities of women workers so that they can benefit from semi-skilled and unskilled work opportunities. This additional funding will rebuild and rehabilitate Maharashtra’s roads and bridges destroyed by the devastating floods of August 2019. The design incorporates flood and climate resilience measures, a pilot test of the use of environmentally friendly materials. environment on selected road segments, the use of mobile mapping technology to monitor project roads and use new technologies such as fiber-reinforced concrete and precast concrete arch bridge. The AfDB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while continuing its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Founded in 1966, it is owned by 68 members, including 49 from the region.