Sunday, January 20, 2019 | ePaper

ADB okays $200m to upgrade BD's rural road

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Business Desk :
Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a finance package of more than $200 million to improve the rural road network for 51.5 million people in Bangladesh.
"Rural roads are critical for uplifting country's agriculture sector, which accounted for more than 15% of the country's gross domestic product in 2015, and employs-directly or indirectly-about half of the workforce," said ADB Senior Rural Development Specialist Lee Ming Tai.
ADB's rural connectivity improvement project will support the government's current Seventh Five Year Plan, which focuses on boosting rural incomes as well as agriculture's contribution to economic development, said an ADB media release received here today quoted Tai as saying.
The total cost of the project, which will be implemented by November 2023, is $285.31 million. ADB will provide a concessional loan of $100 million and a regular loan of $100 million. The government will provide the remaining $85.31 million.
The release said about 80 percent of the country's population lives in rural areas and depends on agriculture for its livelihood. But, the sector is held back by several constraints, including insufficient rural transport, inadequate market infrastructure, and more intense floods and cyclones related to climate change.
ADB's project will support this by improving about 1,700 kilometers of rural roads to all-weather standards in 34 districts, it said, adding that selection of roads will be taken into consideration on basis of factors such as population size, agricultural potential, the number of farms and commercial establishments, and economic potential.
Those roads damaged by flashfloods in 2017 will be prioritized to be upgraded, the release also added.
"The roads will be designed with safety features, including signage, guard posts, and speed breakers," it said.
The climate resilient designs will also be adopted incorporating features such as elevated paving, drainage, road foundations, and earthworks to significantly reduce maintenance.

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