India and the World Bank on Thursday signed a $500-million loan agreement to provide additional funding for the centre’s flagship rural roads programme, the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).
Under PMGSY, the government aims to construct 7,000km of climate-resilient roads. Out of this, 3,500km will be built using green technologies, a statement from the World Bank said.
The World Bank has supported PMGSY since its inception and, so far, “it has invested over $1.8 billion in loans and credits, mostly in the economically weaker regions and hill states across North India, including Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh”.
“The PMGSY over the years has brought about a paradigm shift in the way rural roads are mapped, designed, monitored and built, involving communities, especially women,” said Khare. “The additional finance will bring a new shift in construction technology using green and low-carbon designs and climate-resilient techniques. Now, more rural communities will have access to better economic opportunities and social services.”
Maintenance of the existing 4.6 million km of the road network is emerging as a major challenge in India, the World Bank said, adding that “many parts of the existing road network are either vulnerable to or have already suffered damage from climate-induced events such as floods, high rainfall, sudden cloudbursts and landslides”.