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WB approves USD 45 million loan to NHAI

December 01
03:29 2010

BANGALORE: The World Bank has approved a USD 45 million technical assistance loan for the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to help improve its operational efficiency.

The assistance will finance actions to strengthen the institutional capacity of NHAI to efficiently manage and operate its growing program, a bank statement said.

The loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), approved yesterday, has a five-year grace period.

Forty per cent of the total road traffic in India plies on the National Highway (NH) network and this share is likely to increase with vehicle growth touching 10 per cent per annum in recent years.

About 30 per cent of the total NH network is still single-laned, 53 per cent double-laned and only 17 per cent four/six/eight-laned.

It had been recognized that the condition of the NH network could pose a key constraint to sustaining high levels of growth.

In this direction, the Government of India had launched the National Highway Development Project (NHDP) in year 2000, which is being implemented by the NHAI.

According to estimates, the road sector in India will require investments in the range of USD $75-90 billion over the next five years.

The World Bank project will also help NHAI implement recommendations of an Inter-Ministerial Committee set up in 2008 on the restructuring of NHAI.

“Recognizing the need for improving road infrastructure in the country, the government plans to add 20-km of new or improved roads each day as against the recent rate of three km per day,” said Roberto Zagha, the Word Bank Country Director for India.

“The World Bank is happy to work with NHAI as it ramps up the pace and quality of implementation of this national program,” he said.

The NHAI is preparing to deliver the manifold increase in output as recently desired by the government, the statement said.

The organization, it said, is faced with the challenge of enhancing its program standards on governance, accountability, asset management and safety — on an ongoing basis.

The WB project would support training to enable NHAI to improve its project management, research and capacity building, asset management and resources planning and public-private partnerships.

It would also assist in socio-economic and environment impact evaluation, safety, HIV/AIDS prevention, and governance through adopting appropriate approaches and practices.

-PTI

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