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World Bank to provide $45 mn to Nepal for rural road
Kathmandu, Dec 18 (Agencies):
Published on 18 Dec. 2009 11:52 PM IST
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The World Bank today said it has approved 45 million dollar additional financing to Nepal for improving the rural road network. The Rural Access Improvement and Decentralisation Project (RAIDP) has been upgrading rural roads in 20 of Nepal's 75 districts since 2005, when the World Bank provided a 32 million dollar grant, the Bank said in a statement. Besides meeting the cost escalations due to doubling of input prices since 2005, the additional financing will expand the project to 10 more districts, it added. "Nepalis have high expectations of sustained peace and economic opportunities... improving rural roads in these districts will support Nepal's vision of creating employment, jump-starting economic development, and reducing poverty,'' said Susan Goldmark, World Bank Country Director for Nepal. Of the two project components, the Rural Transport Infrastructure component will rehabilitate and upgrade a further 550 kilometers of existing dry-season rural roads to all-season standard and, in the remote hill districts, upgrade another 140 kilometers of existing rural trails and tracks to dry-season standard. It will also maintain about 4,500 kilometers of rural roads, construct 160 trail bridges and selected river crossings, as well as develop small community infrastructures. ''The additional financing is expected to create 150 days of off-farm employment a year for over 30,000 people,'' it said. The second component--Capacity Building and Advisory Services--will support institutional strengthening at the Department of Local Infrastructure and Agriculture Roads (DOLIDAR) and DDCs in the areas of road asset management and District Transport Master Plans. "Once complete, beneficiaries in the project areas will enjoy a 20 per cent reduction in travel time and a 30 percent increase in transport services plying the roads,'' said Marianne Kilpatrick, Senior Transport Specialist, World Bank. About 2.4 million people are expected to benefit from RAIDP when this phase ends in 2013. In addition to including 10 more districts in the project, RAIDP intends to increase the number of kilometers upgraded in the original 20 districts. The Nepal Government and participating District Development Committees (DDCs) have provided about 10 million dollars for the project, while the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has provided 2.1 million dollars for the Trail Bridges component of the project.

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