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Himachal Pradesh and World Bank sign $82 million loan for roads transformation project

Yadavindra S Rana | September 08, 2020 10:55 AM

CHANDIGARH--The Government of India, the Government of Himachal Pradesh and the World
Bank signed $82 million loan for the implementation of Himachal Pradesh State Roads
Transformation Project on Monday. The project will strengthen transport and road safety institutions
of Himachal Pradesh by improving the condition, safety, resilience, and engineering standards of state
road network.
It will be a finance booster dose to build climate and disaster resilient roads; improve
road safety along tourism corridors in Himachal; enhance logistics along fruit belts; and support the
government’s initiative to create a corporate entity responsible for ensuring well-performing roads. It
is also stated that maintenance contracts under the project would be awarded to women-led Self-Help
Groups (SHGs).
Mr Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs,
Ministry of Finance, Government of India said that the economic growth of any region was closely
linked to its road infrastructure. The mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh with its rich horticulture
and tourism potential requires well-constructed, well connected, climate resilient and safe roads. This
project will help the state develop reliable, resilient and safe roads which was crucial for the rural
prosperity.
The loan agreement was signed by Mr Khare, on behalf of the Government of India and
Mr Junaid Kamal Ahmad,  Country Director (India) on behalf of the World Bank. Whereas, the project
agreement was signed by Mr Jagdish Chander Sharma, Principal Secretary, Public Works Department
on behalf of the Government of Himachal Pradesh.
Himachal Pradesh, a mountain state richly endowed with natural resources, often faces
landslides and flash floods that affect its road connectivity. Cloud bursts, more extreme river flows
and flooding cause landslides and erosion of embankments and loss of roads or bridges. These events
are projected to increase over the next few decades as a result of climate change. To protect against
landslides and floods, the project will implement engineering solutions that are plant and natural-
based as well as control vehicular emission to address climate risks.
Furthermore, as there is no early warning system in the state, landslides cause fatal
accidents. During the snow and rainy season, transportation of agricultural products and tourists, is
either terminated or delivered at a high cost. Measures such as creating an emergency response crew,
upgrading drainage structures and protecting slide prone areas will help build resilient road
infrastructure.
Mr Tesfamichael Mitiku, Senior Transport Engineer and World Bank’s Task Team
Leader for the project, said that a well-performing road infrastructure that helped in creating an
efficient logistics system will go a long way in supporting small holder farmers, small and medium
enterprises and manufacturing industries deliver products just-in-time to wholesale and terminal
markets at a lower cost. Reorganizing Himachal Pradesh Road & Other Infrastructure Development
Corporation (HPRIDC) and HP Motor Vehicle Administration as corporate entities, will also support
greater transparency and accountability in promoting innovative development solutions.
Recognizing that road safety is a critical issue, the project will enhance the state’s ability
to systematically identify, analyze, develop and prioritize critical road safety measures that will
benefit all road users. The‘Safe Systems’ approach will be adopted in selected districts and heavily
trafficked corridors. The state highway patrol will be trained and equipped with surveillance gear. An
emergency response system will be established to help connect accident sites with dedicated hospitals
for post-crash care and data collection.
The $82 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
(IBRD) has a final maturity of 15 years including a grace period of 5 years.

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