New Delhi– The Indian government has signed a $210 million loan agreement with the World Bank to improve the rural roads in Madhya Pradesh, an official statement said on Tuesday.

“The project (Madhya Pradesh Rural Connectivity Project) will cover 10,510 km stretch of rural roads in Madhya Pradesh that fall under the Chief Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana (CMGSY) program,” said the Finance Ministry in a statement.

The deal, signed between the Central government, Madhya Pradesh government and the World Bank, will improve the durability, resilience and safety of the gravel surfaced rural roads and enhance the capacity of the state to manage its rural roads network, it said.

Of the total roads, 10,000 km will be upgraded from existing gravel to bituminous surface roads, while 510 km of new roads will be built to the same bituminous surface standard, it added.

“Government of India is making all efforts to ensure that communities in the most remote areas across the country are connected through a road network. All weather road connectivity is crucial for economic growth, especially in the rural areas,” said Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance.

Gravel surfaced roads are more prone to washouts than paved roads during flood seasons. This project will undertake resilience measures such as surface sealing of roads, embankment pitching, and balancing culverts to prevent damages caused by extreme flood events.

World Bank India Acting Country Director Hisham Abdo said: “This project will leverage resources to support innovations in road construction, improve road safety, and reduce carbon footprint in the transport sector by mainstreaming climate resilient technology in road design and construction.”

Recognizing that road safety is a critical issue, the project will also strengthen road safety management systems with the objective of reducing fatalities and serious injuries from road accidents, the statement said.

“The project will focus on improving road accident data collection and analysis at central and state levels through implementation of the Road Accident Database Management System (RADMS),” it said.

Further, the state will pilot a comprehensive Road Safety Programme in districts with most fatal and serious injuries recorded in the recent past, it added. (IANS)

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