The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has granted a $350m loan for the rehabilitation and modernisation of state highways and major district roads in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh.

Approximately 96% of the area in the state of Chhattisgarh is rural, yet it is rich in natural resources and a major producer of minerals such as coal and iron ore.

The ADB noted that a safe and efficient road network will not only improve connectivity and access to basic services and livelihood opportunities but also it will contribute to the state’s economy and development.

ADB Transport specialist Andri Heriawan said: “Chhattisgarh relies heavily on roads for the movement of people and goods, particularly in rural and semi-urban areas.

“The project will boost access of the poor to socioeconomic opportunities and to basic services such as health care and education, as well as improve the overall quality of life in the influence areas along the roads.”

Funding will be used to upgrade two state highways and 23 major district roads totalling approximately 850km in length.

The Chhattisgarh Public Works Department will be responsible for widening of the selected roads from single or intermediate lane width to two to four lanes.

Roads in villages and built-up areas will include bus stops accessible to the elderly, women, children, and persons with disabilities, and street lighting for better security and road safety.

From the entire project cost of $521.69m, the government will provide $171.69m. The project is due to be completed by mid-2024.

In 2012, the ADB granted $180m for around 1,700km of state highways and again approved $300m during the same year for an additional 916km of state roads.