New Delhi: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $177 million loan to India to upgrade 450 kilometers (km) of state highways and major district roads in Maharashtra State.
Located in central and western India, Maharashtra is India’s third-largest state in terms of size and second-most in terms of population. The roads to be upgraded link agricultural and industrial areas, and are critical to improving access to markets, employment opportunities, and services. The project will also finance the development of a road maintenance planning system and build the capacity of the Maharashtra Public Works Department (MPWD).
“More than half of the state population live in rural areas with agriculture as the primary source of employment. However, growth in the agriculture sector has been declining, compared to the industrial and service sectors. Improving connectivity of agricultural and industrial areas will help address income disparity in Maharashtra,” said ADB Transport Specialist Kirsty Rowan Marcus. “Improved roads will help the rural areas to integrate properly into the local economy.”
Many state roads connecting urban and rural areas in Maharashtra are congested, unsafe, and of poor quality. The project will improve about 25 km of major district roads and expand 425 km of state roads to the two-lane standard. Improvements will incorporate road safety elements, environmental sustainability, climate change adaptation features, and measures to enhance social inclusion and safeguards. A maintenance planning methodology will be developed and adopted to ensure the road networks are managed properly, coupled with extensive training of MPWD project staff on road safety and maintenance.
The Government of Maharashtra will contribute $78.99 million equivalent toward the $255.99 million total cost of the project. This loan complements ADB’s ongoing assistance through the Maharashtra Rural Connectivity Improvement Project.
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 68 members—49 from the region.