India Signs A Loan Agreement Of US$ 250 Million With The World Bank To Develop 766 Kms Of Rajasthan’s Roads
The Government of India, Government of Rajasthan and the World Bank today signed a US$ 250 Million Loan Agreement for the Rajasthan State Highways Development Program II Project to build the State's capacity to better manage its highways and improve traffic flows on selected highways in State of Rajasthan.
The World Bank-supported Project will support the construction, upgradation, improvement and maintenance of 766 kms of state highways and major district roads. It will also will help build an online project management system and a smartphone application to handle contract management, data reporting, quality control, etc.
Mr Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India said that development of State Highways in Rajasthan is crucial to the success of National-Level Connectivity Programs. The World Bank Project will not just help the State expand its road network but also have a lasting impact on the design and implementation of State-wide transport capital investments.
The Loan Agreement was signed by Mr Sameer Kumar Khare on behalf of the Government of India and Mr Shanker Lal, Acting Country Director (India) on behalf of the World Bank. The Project Agreement was signed by Mr M. L. Verma, Chief Engineer & Additional Secretary, Public Works Department on behalf of the Government of Rajasthan and Mr Shanker Lal, Acting Country Director (India) on behalf of the World Bank.
The Project will help build the capacity of the Public Works Department (PWD), which is responsible for about 70 percent of the State’s road network, as well as of the Rajasthan State Highways Authority.
The Government of Rajasthan launched the Rajasthan State Highways Development Program in the financial year 2014-15 as a flagship program under its vision of a Resurgent Rajasthan. This ambitious plan aims to develop 20,000 kms of State Highways and major District roads through Public-Private Partnerships.
The World Bank-supported project will help the state improve its competitiveness by increasing access to basic services for the population at large, especially those living in rural areas and smaller centers along the corridors.
Road safety is a major component of the project, with more than 10,000 road traffic-related deaths reported in the state in 2017. A global information system-based database will enable recording and reporting of road accidents as well as the storage, analysis and dissemination of this information. Citizens will be empowered to report road accidents in rural areas through a simple-to-use smart phone application.
Mr Junaid Kamal Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank India said that the project has a significant focus on road safety - from helping build the state’s capacity for road safety management by using proactive and preventive methods, to using innovative tools to capture accident data, including from rural areas.
Another important component includes gender audits for road designs and security enhancements for women and girls at bus stops, etc. The project will also help incorporate road designs to support the differently abled.
Additional focus will be on making the roads resilient to climate change, particularly high temperatures and flooding, and also to develop institutional capacity for climate risk management. The project will support resource efficient growth through use of greener materials.
Mesfin Wodajo Jijo and Ms Reenu Aneja, World Bank Task Team Leaders for the Project said that a crucial aspect of the Project is that it will support the operationalization of the Rajasthan State Highways Authority. The goal is to transform the management of the strategic road network through a State Highways Agency that will be accountable to the public for the services it delivers.
The US$ 250 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a 25-year maturity including a 5-year grace period.