The World Bank has approved two loans totalling US$ 660 million to support the development of India’s road network.
The largest loan of US$ 500 million will be put towards India’s National Highways Interconnectivity Improvement Project.
The scheme will upgrade and widen about 1,120 km of existing single/intermediate lane National Highways to two-lane in the states of Bihar, Orissa and Rajasthan and in less developed regions of Karnataka and West Bengal.
Meanwhile, the World Bank approved a further US$ 160 million loan to support the Rajasthan Road Sector Modernisation Project.
This scheme plans to construct 2500 km of rural roads, connect around 1300 villages and also undertake preparatory studies for improving 700 km of priority sections of the state's highways.
Onno Ruhl, World Bank country director for India, said, “Over the years India’s core highway network has seen significant improvement. However, over 40% of the network suffers from major connectivity gaps and requires better maintenance and upgrades.
“These roads often serve as the primary or the sole transport link to several remote and economically lagging regions.”