India signs $295m loan to upgrade state highways in Bihar

July 28: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India today signed an agreement for a $295 million loan to upgrade around 265-kilometre state highways with climate and disaster-resilient design, and road safety elements in the state of Bihar.

The signatories to the agreement for the Enhancing Connectivity and Sustainability in Bihar Roads Project were Mr Vumlunmang Vualnam, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, who signed on behalf of the Government of India and Mr Takeo Konishi, Country Director for ADB in India, who signed for ADB.

The project supports the Government of Bihar’s programme to upgrade all state highways to standard two-lane widths and improve road safety. The improved roads will enhance connectivity in some of Bihar’s poorest rural districts and promote access to health and education facilities, and markets to improve people’s lives.

“Besides upgrading roads, the ADB project builds on earlier efforts to enhance the state road agency’s management and implementation capacity and will strengthen the systems for planning, road safety, and sustainability,” said Mr Konishi.

Among the Initiatives to strengthen the state road agency, Bihar State Road Development Corporation Limited will include developing a road asset management system that includes climate change and disaster risk information, establishing research laboratories in the Bihar Road Research Institute to enable investigation of materials, including reusable, and sustainable materials, to alleviate the effects of climate change, conducting studies on congestion management and climate adaptation, and creating guidelines for gender-inclusive practices in road safety measures.

The project will also encourage women’s participation by providing employment to female workers in construction works. Training in livelihood, as well as awareness of road safety, health, hygiene, abuse and harassment, will be offered to women from communities in the project areas.

Since 2008, ADB has provided five loans totalling $1.63 billion to the state of Bihar, for the upgradation of about 1,696-kilometer state highways and the construction of a new bridge over the Ganga River.

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