ADB approves $200 mN. to upgrade rural road | Daily News

ADB approves $200 mN. to upgrade rural road

Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a finance package of more than $200 million to improve the rural road network for 51.5 million people in Bangladesh.

“Rural roads are critical for uplifting country’s agriculture sector, which accounted for more than 15 per cent  of the country’s gross domestic product in 2015, and employs-directly or indirectly-about half of the workforce,” said ADB Senior Rural Development Specialist Lee Ming Tai.

ADB’s rural connectivity improvement project will support the government’s current Seventh Five Year Plan, which focuses on boosting rural incomes as well as agriculture’s contribution to economic development, said an ADB media release received yesterday  quoted Tai as saying.

The total cost of the project, which will be implemented by November 2023, is $285.31 million. ADB will provide a concessional loan of $100 million and a regular loan of $100 million. The government will provide the remaining $85.31 million.

The release said about 80 percent of the country’s population lives in rural areas and depends on agriculture for its livelihood. But, the sector is held back by several constraints, including insufficient rural transport, inadequate market infrastructure, and more intense floods and cyclones related to climate change.

ADB’s project will support this by improving about 1,700 kilometers of rural roads to all-weather standards in 34 districts, it said, adding that selection of roads will be taken into consideration on basis of factors such as population size, agricultural potential, the number of farms and commercial establishments, and economic potential.

Those roads damaged by flashfloods in 2017 will be prioritized to be upgraded, the release also added.

“The roads will be designed with safety features, including signage, guard posts, and speed breakers,” it said.

The climate resilient designs will also be adopted incorporating features such as elevated paving, drainage, road foundations, and earthworks to significantly reduce maintenance.

The roads will be covered under contractual maintenance for 5 years after the date of construction on a pilot basis.

The release said only about 40 percent of the rural population has access to all-weather roads, and these roads make up only 28 percent of the total length of rural roads in the country.

Guided by the Seventh Five Year Plan, the government has embarked on an effort to improve the country’s rural road network, aiming to increase the percentage of rural roads classified as

good during the period of the Five Year Plan from 43

percent in 2016 to 80 percent in 2020.

The project will provide training to the Local Government Engineering Department on road and financial management, road safety, climate resilient design and construction, improving road users’ awareness, and enhancing women’s skills on road construction and maintenance.

An ADB technical assistance grant of $1 million will support these activities, the release said, adding that more than 2,400 women were consulted in the project area during project design and the project will give them more access to economic opportunities and services.BSS

(Theindependent)


 

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