© Public Finance International
© Public Finance International

NEW DELHI: Government has signed a $273 million loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to improve rural roads in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal.

The loan constitutes the third tranche, which is also the last tranche of the $800 million financing facility under the Rural Connectivity Investment Programme, a Finance Ministry statement said.

“The loan will help in constructing over 6,000 kilometers of all-weather rural roads in the aforesaid five states, benefiting over 4,200 rural habitations,” it added.

Joint Secretary in Department of Economic Affairs S Selvakumar signed the loan agreement on behalf of government while Teresa Kho, Country Director signed for ADB.

Selvakumar said that the programme has supported the government’s objectives under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) by providing road connectivity in selected rural areas in the five states and improve access of rural communities to markets, health and education facilities.

Kho said this loan will be used to make further investments as well as supporting improved road design, road safety and asset management measures, and training, with women actively involved in all aspects.

The Ministry of Rural Development is the executing agency of the project at the central level, while state governments of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and West Bengal have been entrusted with overall implementation at the respective state level.

The third tranche is expected to be completed by December, 2017, the statement said.