The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $350 million loan to improve the connectivity of key economic areas in the state of Maharashtra.The project will help address intra-regional disparities by improving connectivity, facilitating access to services, and accelerating inclusive economic growth of lagging districts in the state.
As per the Government, at least 319 km of state highways and 149 km of district roads will be upgraded, incorporating climate and disaster-resilient features to strengthen the state’s core road network in 10 districts of Ahmednagar, Hingoli, Jalna, Kohalpur, Nagur, Nanded, Nashik, Pune, Sangli, and Satara. This will help connect underdeveloped rural communities with off-farm opportunities and markets, improve access to health and social services and improve agricultural value chains by reducing transport costs for small and medium-sized enterprises.
In addition, the project will construct 5 km of major district roads connecting Nanded and neighboring Telangana. The project will promote gender equality and social inclusion in highway programs, schools, health, and social services and set up integrated service centers to provide basic sanitation, education, and other services. Plans are on to conduct skills training for enterprises led by poor women and disadvantaged groups to provide livelihood opportunities.
The project will also demonstrate the private sector’s effectiveness in undertaking long-term road maintenance for greater life-cycle quality and operational efficiency and develop a good practice handbook for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in road design and maintenance.