ADB, India Sign £1.57 Million Loan to Improve  International Trade Corridor in North-East


JAINTIA HILLS, INDIA - APRIL 15: Coal trucks and other vehicles move through town after being delayed due to a traffic accident on April 15, 2011 in Lad Rymbai, in the district of Jaintia Hills, India. The Jaintia hills, located in India's far North East state of Meghalaya, miners descend to great depths on slippery, rickety wooden ladders. Children and adults squeeze into rat hole like tunnels in thousands of privately owned and unregulated mines, extracting coal with their hands or primitive tools and no safety equipment. Workers can earn as much as 150 USD per week or 30,000 Rupees per month, significantly higher than the national average of 15 USD per day. After traversing treacherous mountain roads, the coal is delivered to neighbouring Bangladesh and to Assam from where it is distributed all over India, to be used primarily for power generation and as a source of fuel in cement plants. Many workers leave homes in neighbouring states, and countries, like Bangladesh and Nepal, hoping to escape poverty and improve their quality of life. Some send money back to loved ones at home, whilst many others squander their earnings on alcohol, drugs and prostitution in the dusty, coal mining towns like Lad Rymbai. Some of the labor is forced, and an Indian NGO group, Impulse, estimates that 5,000 privately-owned coal mines in Jaintia Hills employed some 70,000 child miners. The government of Meghalaya refuted this figure, claiming that the mines had only 222 minor workers. Despite the ever present dangers and hardships, children, migrants and locals flock to the mines hoping to strike it rich in India's wild east. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
JAINTIA HILLS, INDIA - APRIL 15: Coal trucks and other vehicles move through town after being delayed due to a traffic accident on April 15, 2011 in Lad Rymbai, in the district of Jaintia Hills, India. The Jaintia hills, located in India's far North East state of Meghalaya, miners descend to great depths on slippery, rickety wooden ladders. Children and adults squeeze into rat hole like tunnels in thousands of privately owned and unregulated mines, extracting coal with their hands or primitive tools and no safety equipment. Workers can earn as much as 150 USD per week or 30,000 Rupees per month, significantly higher than the national average of 15 USD per day. After traversing treacherous mountain roads, the coal is delivered to neighbouring Bangladesh and to Assam from where it is distributed all over India, to be used primarily for power generation and as a source of fuel in cement plants. Many workers leave homes in neighbouring states, and countries, like Bangladesh and Nepal, hoping to escape poverty and improve their quality of life. Some send money back to loved ones at home, whilst many others squander their earnings on alcohol, drugs and prostitution in the dusty, coal mining towns like Lad Rymbai. Some of the labor is forced, and an Indian NGO group, Impulse, estimates that 5,000 privately-owned coal mines in Jaintia Hills employed some 70,000 child miners. The government of Meghalaya refuted this figure, claiming that the mines had only 222 minor workers. Despite the ever present dangers and hardships, children, migrants and locals flock to the mines hoping to strike it rich in India's wild east. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Indian government signed a £1.57 million loan on Monday (1) to finance continued improvements to road connectivity and efficiency of the International Trade Corridor in West Bengal and north-eastern region of India.

The signatories to the Tranche 2 Loan Agreement for the £5.25m South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation Road Connectivity lnvestment Program were additional secretary Sameer Kumar Khare, the ministry of finance and Kenichi Yokoyama, country director of ADB’s India Resident Mission, said India’s ministry of finance in a statement.

Approved in 2014, the program aims to expand about 500 kilometers of roads in India’s north Bengal and north-eastern region that will enable efficient and safe transport within India and regionally with other SASEC member countries.

After signing the loan agreement, Khare said that the program is an important initiative in regional connectivity aimed at increasing domestic and regional trade through North Bengal-north east Region International Trade corridor by upgrading key roads. He said that it will give a boost to India’s efforts to promote regional connectivity in South Asia.

Speaking on the occasion, Yokoyama noted that the new loan will help up-gradation of key national and state highways in Manipur and construct an important international bridge for crucial last-mile connectivity between in-country trunk road network and neighbouring countries.

The Tranche 2 Project will upgrade about 65 kilometers of lmphal-Moreh section of national highway in Manipur, construction of about 1.5 km of an international bridge between India and Nepal, and completion of about 103 km of a state highway in Manipur between Imphal and Tamenglong under Project-I. The project will reduce transaction costs along the targeted cross-border corridors substantially, creating economies of scale and commercial prosperity.