WB approves $400 M for India's rural roads project

By siliconindia staff writer   |   Friday, 24 September 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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WASHINGTON: The World Bank has approved a $400-million package of assistance for the development of rural roads in India.

The 'Rural Roads Project', which is the first in a series of credits/loans to India to support the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Jojana (PMGSY), was approved on Thursday.

"An estimated 200 million people are without all-weather road access in India," Piers Vickers, World Bank's Senior Transport Specialist, said.

The funds will be in addition to existing transfers from Indian Government to fund construction and maintenance of the rural road network in over half of the districts in four states — Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, said a World Bank statement.

Vickers said the current project's scope can be expanded to cover additional states, like Bihar, for instance.

"This project is being proposed as the first in a series of credits and loans to support the government's programme of total rural connectivity over the next five to seven years, with the subsequent operation to be prepared in a sector-wide approach where feasible," Michael Carter, World Bank Country Director for India, said.

This first operation consists of a $100 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and a $300 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the Bank's concessionary lending arm. The IBRD loan carries a variable spread loan, 20-year maturity, and a grace period of five years. The IDA credit has 35-years maturity and 10 years of grace period.



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