India & World Bank inks pact for developing green, resilient & safe highways

With an aim to build green and safe national highway corridors in Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, the Government of India and the World Bank signed a $500 million project on December 22. The move will also include enhancing the capacity of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) in mainstreaming safety and green technologies.

World BankThe project will support MoRTH construct 783 km of highways in the identified states by integrating safe and green technology designs such as local and marginal materials, industrial byproducts, and other bioengineering solutions. The project will help reduce GHG emissions in the construction and maintenance of highways.

The agreement was signed by Dr Mohapatra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India and Sumila Gulyani, Acting Country Director, India, on behalf of the World Bank.

Dr CS Mohapatra stated that the Government of India is committed to environmentally sustainable development in its infrastructure projects. This project will set new standards in the construction of safe motorable roads. The selected stretches in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh will also help improve connectivity and promote economic development.

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The National Highways of India carry about 40 per cent of road traffic. The project will also support analytics to map the freight volume and movement pattern on the National Highway network, identify constraints, and provide innovative logistics solutions. Several sections of these highways have inadequate capacity, weak drainage structures and black spots prone to accidents. The project will, therefore, strengthen and widen existing structures; construct new pavements, drainage facilities and bypasses; improve junctions; and introduce road safety features.

Also, infrastructure investments are climate-resilient. To this effect disaster risk assessment of about 5000 km of the National Highway network will also be undertaken under the project along with support to the ministry for mainstreaming climate resilience aspects in project design and implementation.

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The $500 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a maturity of 18.5 years including a grace period of five years.

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