India on Thursday signed a $346 million loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to finance improvement of over 400 km of state highways that will enhance connectivity and access to economic centres across 12 districts in Karnataka.
This would be in addition to an ongoing road improvement project financed by the ADB with a loan of $315 million which involves upgradation of about 615 km of state roads.
The loan agreement for the Karnataka State Highways Improvement III Project (KSHIP-III) was signed between Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary in the Finance Ministry and Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADBâ€™s India Resident Mission.
Kenichi Yokoyama said the new loan will continue ADB support to the Karnataka government's statewide road improvement programme, and will also help improve road safety.
He added that an important aspect of the project is the use of hybrid annuity contracts to improve road asset and sustainability.
Economic Affairs Joint Secretary Sameer Kumar Khare, who signed the agreement on behalf of India, said that state highways provide a crucial link to population and economic centres.
He said that support to the development of the state highway network in Karnataka through this project will promote economic activities and foster inclusiveness.
As part of KSHIP-III, nearly 419 kilometres of state highways will be upgraded to two and four-lane roads and will involve reconstruction as well as widening and strengthening of bridges and culverts.
The hybrid-annuity contracts are aimed at increasing participation of the private sector and for improving quality and sustainability of road assets with a performance-based maintenance period of seven years post construction.
ADB said that a road safety audit will be conducted as part of the project to locate and minimise critical accident spots across the state highway network and bolster the institutional capacity of Karnataka public works department.
With IANS inputs