The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India have signed an agreement for a $295 million loan to upgrade around 265-kilometre state highways with climate and disaster-resilient design, and road safety elements in Bihar and a $200 million loan as additional financing for the ongoing Rajasthan Secondary Towns Development Sector Project to expand water supply and sanitation systems.
The project in Bihar supports the state government’s programme to upgrade all state highways to standard two-lane widths and improve road safety. According to a release, the improved roads will enhance connectivity in some of the poorest rural districts thereby promoting access to health, education facilities, and markets to improve people’s lives.
Bihar State Road Development Corporation Limited plans to include developing a road asset management system which includes climate change and disaster risk information, establishing research laboratories in the Bihar Road Research Institute. The project will employ female workers in construction work, a release noted.
The Rajasthan project was approved in 2020 and has so far laid 1,451 kilometres of water supply pipes, 1,110 km of sewer pipes, and connected 68,098 households to water services in selected secondary towns in the state.
The additional financing will improve water supply systems in at least seven towns by converting all groundwater sources to surface water, replacing about 700 km of leaking water pipes, installing 1,400 km of new water supply pipelines, and providing 77,000 households connections with water meters. It will also establish three new water treatment plants, the release said.
In addition, it will create a special-purpose vehicle through a public–private partnership to address water security issues in Rajasthan’s manufacturing industry and to encourage private sector investments and financing. This will establish designated pipe networks to carry treated wastewater from the sewage treatment plants to industrial facilities.