The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Saturday announced a $200 million loan to build roads in six states in India’s northeast.
The loan will help upgrade 400 km of roads in Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura, said Hideaki Iwasaki, a Portfolio Management Specialist in ADB’s South Asia Department. The work will include widening of existing roads, strengthening pavements, raising embankments and providing permanent structures at river crossings, Iwasaki said.
“More than 30 per cent of the population in these states lives below the poverty line. By upgrading these roads we will be able to improve mobility and accessibility for many communities that will help provide new economic opportunities, boost growth and reduce poverty,” Iwasaki said.
The loan will be released in two tranches. The first portion of nearly $75 million will be used for over 200 km of roads in Assam, Meghalaya and Sikkim, he said in a statement.
The total programme investment cost is of $298.2 million, out of which the central and state governments will provide their part of $98.2 million.
The Indian ministry of development of north eastern region, along with state governments, will carry out the programme, which is to be completed by the end of December 2016.
Assistance will also be given to raise the capacity of state public works departments to carry out effective planning and asset management. An associated technical assistance grant of $1.2 million from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, administered by ADB, will be provided to introduce modern road management practices.
Meanwhile, the state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) on Saturday said it had intensified efforts to implement the ambitious Rs.2,400 crore to replace and revamp ageing installations in Assam.
The project, launched in 2009, includes removal of surface bottlenecking and utilisation of technologies and equipment of international standards, besides drilling of high-tech wells to increase production.
“Several wells were abandoned many years back in different parts of Assam,” ONGC chairman and managing director A.K. Hazarika told reporters.
“ONGC has tied up with (state-owned) Nuclear Power Corp (of India Ltd) (NPCIL) to explore possibilities of uranium exploration and extend necessary assistance to set up nuclear power projects in India.”
Hazarika said a pilot project would be undertaken for uranium exploration in the Krishna-Godavari basin.
India, with 0.8 per cent of the world’s uranium reserves, will need 78,000 tonnes to generate 20,000 MW of electricity through nuclear power by 2020.
From / Gulf Today