MANILA: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $300 million loan as additional financing for the ongoing Maharashtra Rural Connectivity Improvement Project that is upgrading rural roads and connecting rural areas with markets and services in the State of Maharashtra in India.
The ongoing project, approved in August 2019, has been improving and maintaining the condition and safety of 2,100 kilometers (km) of rural roads across Maharashtra. The additional financing will improve an additional 1,100 rural roads and 230 bridges for a total length of 2,900 km in 34 districts.
“The additional financing aims to help accelerate Maharashtra’s economic recovery from COVID-19 devastation by generating rural employment and transforming agriculture,” said ADB Senior Rural Development Specialist for South Asia Masahiro Nishimura. “The state government targets to increase the average growth rate of agriculture and allied activities to more than 5% per year by 2030. The project will also provide last-mile connectivity to a large number of small villages, enhancing access to health and education facilities and greatly benefitting poor and vulnerable population by increasing agriculture productivity.”
The additional financing is expected to generate about 3.1 million person-days of employment for local communities, of which at least 25% will be for women, over the construction and maintenance periods. The state government of Maharashtra, acting through the Maharashtra Rural Road Development Association as the executing agency, has developed a gender action plan, which focuses on capacity development of women workers so that they can benefit from the semiskilled and unskilled labor opportunities.
This additional financing will rebuild and rehabilitate roads and bridges in Maharashtra destroyed by the devastating floods in August 2019. The design incorporates flood and climate resilience measures, pilot test the use of environment-friendly materials on selected road segments, and utilize new technologies such as fiber-reinforced concrete and pre-cast concrete arch bridge.
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.