The Manila-headquartered multi-lateral funding agency, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government of India, on October 1, 2018, signed a USD 150-million loan, to finance continued improvements to road connectivity and efficiency of the international trade corridor, in the northern part of West Bengal and north-eastern region of the country, the ADB said, in a release. This is the second tranche loan agreement for the USD 500-million South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Road Connectivity Investment Programme. The programme aims to expand about 500 kilometres of roads in north Bengal and north-eastern states, to enable efficient and safe transport within India and regionally.
“The programme is an important initiative in regional connectivity, aimed at increasing domestic and regional trade through north Bengal – north-east region international trade corridor, by upgrading key roads. It will give a boost to India’s efforts to promote regional connectivity in south Asia,” said Sameer Kumar Khare, additional secretary (Fund Bank and ADB), Finance Ministry, who signed the agreement on behalf of the government.
Country director of ADB India Resident Mission, Kenichi Yokoyama, said the new loan will help upgradation of key national and state highways in Manipur and construct an important international bridge, for crucial last-mile connectivity between in-country trunk road network and neighbouring countries. The tranche 2 project will upgrade about 66 kilometers of national highways in Manipur, construct about 1.5 kms of an international bridge between India and Nepal and provide additional financing for the construction of about 103 kms of a state highway in Manipur. The project will reduce transaction costs along the targeted cross-border corridors substantially, creating economies of scale and commercial prosperity, ADB said.