The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a new $800m loan as part of a $1.2bn programme to help to improve safety and connectivity on India’s roads.

The funding aims to connect villages in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, and West Bengal states with all-weather roads by the end of 2017.

The bank will provide the first installment of $252m of the approved $800m loan for the road projects and will release the subsequent installments as the work progresses.

The Government of India will finance the remaining road projects.

Juan Miranda, ADB South Asia Department director genera, said: "Thousands of kilometers of highways between major cities criss-cross India but building the final connection from the main roads to smaller towns and villages will mean farmers can transport their goods to markets, men and women can seek jobs, and children can get to schools and hospitals."

ADB will set up six rural road network management units and one rural connectivity training and research centre in each state to improve road planning, maintenance, upgrading road design, safety, and building skills of engineers, site supervisors, and technicians.

The programme will see the construction of 9,000km rural roads in five states.

The bank has already funded $1.15bn through two projects in 2003 and 2005 to help construct about 109,000km of rural roads in the five states under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana nationwide rural road investment programme.