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India, ADB sign $295 million loan to upgrade state highways in Bihar

The Indian government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have joined hands once again to enhance infrastructure in Bihar. Through a $295-million loan, the project aims to upgrade approximately 265 km of state highways in Bihar, incorporating climate and disaster-resilient designs and road safety measures.

The initiative aligns with the Bihar government’s vision to improve all state highways to standard two-lane widths and prioritize road safety. Additionally, the upgraded roads are expected to boost connectivity in impoverished rural regions, improving access to essential services like health, education, and markets, ultimately enhancing the well-being of the people.

Enhancing Connectivity and Sustainability in Bihar Roads Project:

The project, aptly named “Enhancing Connectivity and Sustainability in Bihar Roads Project,” represents a significant milestone in bolstering the state’s infrastructure. The signing ceremony witnessed Vumlunmang Vualnam, additional secretary of the department of economic affairs, representing the Indian government, and Takeo Konishi, the ADB’s country director for India, sign the agreement, symbolizing their commitment to the endeavor.

Focus on Climate Resilience and Disaster Preparedness:

One of the project’s central objectives is to integrate climate-resilient and disaster-preparedness elements into the upgraded state highways. This will involve adopting innovative road design strategies that can withstand adverse weather conditions and natural calamities, safeguarding the roads’ longevity and functionality. Such a forward-looking approach will mitigate the risks posed by climate change and protect the significant infrastructure investment.

Empowering Bihar State Road Development Corporation Limited:

To ensure the project’s success, the Bihar State Road Development Corporation Limited will receive comprehensive support and reinforcement. Several key initiatives have been planned to strengthen the state road agency’s capabilities:

  1. Road Asset Management System with Climate and Disaster Risk Information: The development of a sophisticated road asset management system will enable real-time monitoring and data-driven decision-making. It will incorporate climate change and disaster risk information, aiding in prompt responses to potential hazards and improved road maintenance.
  2. Research Laboratories at Bihar Road Research Institute: Establishing research laboratories at the Bihar Road Research Institute will facilitate in-depth material investigations. These laboratories will focus on identifying reusable and sustainable materials that can counteract the adverse effects of climate change, fostering eco-friendly and resilient infrastructure practices.
  3. Congestion Management and Climate Adaptation Studies: Through comprehensive studies on congestion management and climate adaptation, the project aims to optimize road usage and address potential traffic bottlenecks effectively. The insights gained will contribute to streamlined transportation and enhanced overall road network efficiency.
  4. Gender-Inclusive Practices in Road Safety Measures: The project acknowledges the importance of gender inclusivity and aims to create guidelines for gender-sensitive road safety measures. Moreover, to encourage women’s participation, female workers will be provided with employment opportunities in construction works. Additionally, tailored training programs focusing on livelihood, road safety, health, hygiene, abuse, and harassment awareness will be offered to women from communities in the project areas.

ADB’s Commitment to Bihar’s Development:

The partnership between ADB and Bihar has been longstanding, with a history dating back to 2008. Over the years, ADB has provided Bihar with five loans amounting to a total of $1.63 billion. This financial support has resulted in the upgrading of approximately 1,696 km of state highways and the construction of a vital bridge over the Ganga, significantly enhancing connectivity and transportation in the region.

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