New Delhi: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government of India on Thursday have signed a $2.5 million project readiness financing (PRF) loan to support project preparation and design activities to upgrade major district roads in Sikkim that will help improve connectivity to important towns, rural areas, and pilgrimage and tourist destinations in the North-Eastern state.
The signatories to the PRF for the proposed Sikkim Major District Road Upgradation Project were the Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Finance Rajat Kumar Mishra who signed for the government of India and Takeo Konishi, Country Director of ADB's India Resident Mission who signed for ADB.
After signing the loan agreement, Mishra said that the PRF will support the state government's priority in improving road connectivity in the hill state through planning and designing of major district and other roads and bridges that will help boost the state's economy and improve accessibility for people in remote villages.
"The PRF project aims to ensure implementation readiness through feasibility studies, preparing detailed engineering designs of selected subprojects and building capacity of state agencies so that the ensuing project gets completed in a timely manner," said Konishi. "It will also help incorporate elements of road safety, maintenance, and climate adaptation and mitigation in the ensuing project for the long-term sustainability of created assets," Konishi added.
Sikkim's road network requires up-gradation to all-weather roads as frequent landslides and erosion damage roads and disrupt intra-state connectivity. The PRF will help the state upgrade identified major district and other roads to improve linkages to the national and state highway network connecting important towns and commercial centres.
Some of the priority roads identified for up-gradation are included in the state's master plan for transport management that was formulated with ADB technical assistance in 2012. The ADB-funded North Eastern State Roads Investment Program launched in 2011 had earlier supported road improvements in Sikkim.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.