World Bank has signed a $210m loan agreement to improve rural roads in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh (MP).

The agreement, signed with the Government of India and the Government of Madhya Pradesh, will provide support to the Madhya Pradesh Rural Connectivity Project.

The project involves upgrading a 10,510km stretch of rural roads of the state under the Chief Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana (CMGSY) programme.

About 10,000km of gravel-surfaced roads will be upgraded with a bituminous surface, while 510km of new roads will be built with the same bituminous surface standard.

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The existing gravel surfaced roads are prone to get damaged during flood seasons. This project will also carry out resilience measures, including surface sealing of roads, embankment pitching and building culverts to prevent damages during flood events.

“The Government of India is making all efforts to ensure that communities in the most remote areas across the country are connected through a road network.”

Overall, the project will aim to enhance durability, resilience and safety of the rural roads.

Ministry of Finance Department of Economic Affairs Joint Secretary Sameer Kumar Khare said: “The Government of India is making all efforts to ensure that communities in the most remote areas across the country are connected through a road network. All weather road connectivity is crucial for economic growth, especially in the rural areas.

“The Madhya Pradesh roads project will enhance rural road connectivity in the state, which will open up opportunities for economic development and access to social services for beneficiary communities in the state and help in reducing poverty.”

The loan will be provided by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), a unit of World Bank Group. The loan will have a five-year grace period and a maturity of 25 years.