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World Bank lends India $500mn for 7,000km road building programme

India mountain road

The World Bank is continuing to finance road construction in India after it signed an agreement to lend the country’s government $500mn for numerous new projects.

The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana Rural Roads Project (PMGSY) has been running since 2004, and is now planning to add another 7,000km of climate-resistant roads to connect India’s most isolated communities.

Around half of these new roads will be built using green technologies and sustainable products, including local and marginal materials and industrial by-products such as sand, local soils, fly ash, brick kiln wastes.

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Sameer Kumar Khare, India’s Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, commented: “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.

“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.”

The World Bank has invested $1.8bn in PMGSY over the years, helping to construct and maintain 35,000km of rural roads, which translates into connecting approximately 8mn people.

The fact the new roads to be built will be climate-resistant is crucial, for maintenance is extremely costly in these remotes areas of such a large landmass – India’s road network spans around 4.6mn km.

Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India, added: “To support the rural economy and communities and households that depend on rural livelihoods, it will be critical to ensure that infrastructure is built and maintained to withstand climatic changes.

“This project will demonstrate how climate resilient construction can be integrated in the strategy and planning of rural roads.”

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Construction Global Weekly