The World Bank has signed an agreement with the Government of India and local authorities to provide $235m credit for the Bihar Rural Roads Project. 

The credit is provided by the World Bank through its concessionary lending arm International Development Association (IDA), with a maturity of 25 years, including a five-year grace period. 

Funding will be used by the state government for constructing climate resilient roads using cost-effective designs and incorporating road safety engineering measures. 

Indian Ministry of Finance Department of Economic Affairs joint secretary Raj Kumar said: “This project will support the construction of about 2,500km of rural roads under the Mukhaya Mantri Gram Sampark Yojana (MMGSY).

“Its aim is to bring all parts of the state within five hours of travel time from the state capital. The project would also bring in innovations such as road safety programme and road sector modernisation plan.”

Authorities will be using alluvial sand for building these roads that accumulates on large tracts of arable land after floods.

"Its aim is to bring all parts of the state within five hours of travel time from the state capital."

Currently, RWD is carrying out climate vulnerability assessment on the existing rural road network, where it will be primarily focusing on the floods, and incorporate suitable measures in its road design, construction, and maintenance programme. 

World Bank India country director Junaid Ahmad said: “Catalysing connectivity and enhancing mobility is a critical plank for transforming rural India.

"By investing in Bihar’s rural roads, this project is in fact tapping into the vast potential of the state’s agriculture and agro-based industries, a sector critical for higher non-farm employment opportunities and increases in rural wages."

The project will be beneficial for nearly 30% of who live below poverty line as the project has the potential to generate direct employment of about 20 million person days for local laborers through a rural road construction and maintenance programme.

Image: World Bank approves $235m credit for the Bihar Rural Roads Project in India. Photo: courtesy of The World Bank Group.