NEW DELHI, July 23 � In a move aimed at improving road linkages in the North-east, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has cleared a $200 million project to reconstruct 400 km of roads in the region.
The project envisages reduction of the region�s isolation and open up badly needed growth and development opportunities, said the international funding agency.
The ADB Board of Directors on Friday approved the two-tranche financing facility for the North Eastern State Roads Investment Programme. The funds will upgrade over 400 km of roads in the States of Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura.
The improvement work will include widening existing sections of roads, strengthening pavements, raising embankments, and providing permanent structures at river crossings, it said.
The first tranche loan of nearly $75 million will be used to fund improvements to over 200 km of roads in three States. It will have a 25-year term, with a grace period of five years and interest determined in accordance with ADB�s LIBOR-based lending facility. The Central and State governments would provide counterpart finance of $98.2 million for a total programme investment cost of $ 298.2 million.
The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, along with the six State governments, will carry out the programme which is due for completion by the end of December 2016.
Assistance would also be given to raise the capacity of State PWDs to carry out effective planning and asset management. An associated technical assistance grant of $1.2 million from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, administered by ADB, would be provided to introduce modern road management practices.
�More than 30 per cent of the population in these States lives below the poverty line,� said a portfolio management specialist in ADB�s South Asia Department, Hideaki Iwasaki.
�By upgrading these roads we will be able to improve mobility and accessibility for many communities that will help provide new economic opportunities, boost growth and reduce poverty. Better roads in the region will also significantly improve the investment climate for the private sector, both domestic and foreign,� he said.