The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to provide a $177m loan for road upgrade works in the Indian state of Maharashtra.

The funding will be utilised to rehabilitate around 25km of major district roads and widen 425km of state roads to the two-lane standard.

The roads, which connect the state’s agricultural and industrial areas, will be upgraded to facilitate access to markets and drive employment opportunities.

ADB Transport Specialist Kirsty Rowan Marcus said: “More than half of the state population live in rural areas with agriculture as the primary source of employment. However, growth in the agriculture sector has been declining, compared to the industrial and service sectors.

“Improving connectivity of agricultural and industrial areas will help address income disparity in Maharashtra. Improved roads will help the rural areas to integrate properly into the local economy.”

The work will include implementing road safety elements and environmental sustainability and climate change adaptation features, among others.

In addition, a maintenance planning methodology will be devised to ensure proper management of the road networks.

The overall project, estimated to cost around $255.99m, also involves the development of a road maintenance planning system and the strengthening of the state’s public works department capabilities.

The remaining $78.99m will be funded by the Government of Maharashtra.

Last week, another Indian state, Himachal Pradesh, received $82m from the World Bank for several road projects. The funding will also be used to modernise the public works department.