The World Bank has decided to provide a loan of $120 million to improve road connectivity in Meghalaya.
As per reports, the Meghalaya Integrated Transport Project (MITP) project is likely to improve 300km of state highways, including major district roads and urban roads.
The MITP project will see the construction of three major bridges and missing sections in strategic corridors connecting the under served communities to the mainstream.
The road segments will cater to major agriculture areas, tourism, small-scale industries, major towns and deprived populations by linking them to markets, health and education centres.
This project is expected to help Meghalaya in emerging as a major connecting hub for trade with neighbouring countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal.
The project is also envisioned to support innovative solutions such as precast bridges to reduce both time and construction cost.
Currently, about half of the 5,362 habitations in Meghalaya lack transport connectivity.
Some of the major challenges faced by Meghalaya's transportation are difficult hilly terrain, and extreme climatic conditions, including high and frequent rains.
Therefore, this huge project will facilitate in restoring transport services for the movement of agricultural produce, improve better access to health facilities during COVID-19 type medical emergencies, benefit about 500,000 inhabitants, and generate direct employment of around 8 million person days.
However, this operation will also support the state's government "Restart Meghalaya Mission" to revive and boost development activities which affected due to COVID-19 pandemic.
"Meghalaya is blessed with diverse agroclimatic zones, unique waterfalls, and root bridges with enormous potential for high-value tourism, agriculture and horticulture. By bringing in climate resilient innovations, this project will offer the people of the state a reliable transport network that is more resilient to the impacts of climate change," stated Ashok Kumar, Senior Highway Engineer and Reenu Aneja, Transport Specialist, Task Team Leaders for the project.
It is to be mentioned that the $120 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a maturity of 14 years including a grace period of six years.
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