New Delhi: In a bid to improve road connectivity and efficiency of the international trade corridor in northern parts of West Bengal and Northeast, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed an agreement worth $150 million loan.
This is the second tranche loan agreement for the $500 million South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Investment Program. Approved in 2014, the program aims to expand about 500 kilometers (km) of roads in India’s North Bengal and northeastern region that will enable efficient and safe transport within India and regionally with other SASEC member countries.
The program is an important initiative in regional connectivity aimed at increasing domestic and regional trade through North Bengal-Northeastern Region international trade corridor by upgrading key roads.
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 neighboring countries.
The project’s second tranche will upgrade about 66 km of national highways in Manipur, construct about 1.5 km of an international bridge between India and Nepal, and provide additional financing for the construction of about 103 km 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 is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in co-financing.