The World Bank has agreed to provide a loan of $120m to improve road connectivity in Meghalaya, a hill state in northeastern India.

The Meghalaya Integrated Transport Project (MITP) project is expected to improve 300km of state highways, including major district roads and urban roads.

In addition, the project will see the construction of three major bridges and missing sections in strategic corridors connecting the underserved communities to the mainstream.

World Bank India country director Junaid Ahmad said: “This project will tap into Meghalaya’s growth potential in two ways. Within the state, it will provide the much-needed transport connectivity for underserved communities, farmers, and firms.

“It will also position Meghalaya as a major connecting hub for trade with neighbouring countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.”

Upon completion, the project is expected to benefit a population of nearly 500,000 by establishing a climate-resilient, safe transport network for people, businesses, and industries.

MITP is also expected to help the state to implement its growth strategies in various sectors such as tourism, agriculture and horticulture.

The $120m loan offered by the World Bank’s arm, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a maturity of 14 years, including a grace period of six years.

The project is expected to help Meghalaya in emerging as a major connecting hub for trade with neighbouring countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal.

World Bank senior highway engineer Ashok Kumar and World Bank Transport Specialist and Task Team Leaders for the project Reenu Aneja said: “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.”

In July, the World Bank approved a funding of $450m to boost road infrastructure in Nepal and help the country revive its economy post-Covid-19.