World Bank offers $107 million IDA loan for second Mizoram roads project

International Development Assistance The government and the World Bank have signed a credit agreement under which the bank will provide loans through its soft lending window International Development Assistance (IDA of $107 million for second Mizoram state roads project (MSRP II).

The agreement signed by Nilaya Mitash, joint secretary (MI) in the department of economic affairs and  Onno Ruhl, country director, World Bank, India, will be fully funded through the World Bank's concessional lending arm, IDA.

This project is the first project facilitating regional connectivity in transport sector undertaken in India with Bank support.

The project, aimed at enhancing transport connectivity along regional trade corridors in Mizoram, will focus on improvement of priority cross-border roads connecting Bangladesh and Myanmar, as also on trade related infrastructure.

The Mizoram state roads project will be an important milestone in enhancing the connectivity of Mizoram and the rest of NE India with Bangladesh and Myanmar.

The project will fund 91 km of roads that are design-ready. Roads that will be widened or strengthened include:

  • A 22 km section of Lunglei-Tlabung-Kawrpuichhuah road on the border with Bangladesh;
  • The 27.5km Champhai-Zokhawthar road on the border with Myanmar; and
  • The 41.7km Chhumkhum-Chawngte North-South alignment connecting to the border roads with Bangladesh to the west and Myanmar to the south.

The current project, signed on Friday, will also fund detailed studies and designs for another road (330 km), mostly in the North-South corridor in Mizoram with potential of connectivity to Myanmar on another axis.

The project will support Mizoram's Road Sector Modernization Plan (RSMP) to strengthen its institutions, enhance accountability; introduce new technologies to promote cost effective road construction; and strengthen road safety management systems.

This will help transform the state's Public Works Department into a modern road agency, according to a World Bank release.

''Improving transport connectivity can play a vital role in enhancing growth in Mizoram, a remote, hilly, and mountainous region where road transport is the only mode of transport within the state. Better connectivity can help reduce freight and passenger transport costs, and provide quicker and safer access to all parts of the state and to neighboring states and countries,'' said Diep Nguyen-van Houtte, senior transport specialist and the World Bank's task team leader for the project.

It is estimated that intra-regional trade could more than double if constraints are removed ($16 billion to $38 billion annually) while investments in transport infrastructure would help increase pan-Asian connectivity and reduce trade costs by more than 20 per cent in India, and12.5 per cent in Bangladesh.