The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of lndia signed here today a $150 Million Loan to finance continued improvements to road connectivity and efficiency of the International Trade Corridor in West Bengal and North-Eastern Region of lndia. The signatories to the Tranche 2 Loan Agreement for the $500 million South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation Road Connectivity lnvestment Program were Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance, who signed on behalf of the Government of lndia; and Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB’s lndia Resident Mission, who signed for ADB. Approved in 20’14, the Program aims to expand about 500 kilometers of roads in lndia’s North Bengal and North-Eastern Region that will enable efficient and safe transport within lndia and regionally with other SASEC member countries.
The Project Agreement for the State of Manipur was signed by Sheikh Abdul Hakim, Under Secretary (Works) and for the National Highways and lnfrastructure Development Corporation Limited was signed by W. Blah, Executive Director (Works).
After signing the loan agreement, Khare said that the Program 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. He said that it will give a boost to lndia’s efforts to promote regional connectivity in the South Asia.
Speaking on the occasion, Yokoyama said that the new loan will help up-gradation 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 65 kilometers of lmphal-Moreh Section of National Highway in Manipur, construction of about 1.5 km of an international bridge between lndia and Nepal, and completion of about 103 km of a State Highway in Manipur between lmphal and Tamenglong under Project-I. 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. ln 2017, ADB operations totalled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in co-financing.