The World Bank has approved a USD120-million project to improve and modernize the transport sector in Meghalaya.

The USD 120 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a maturity of 14 years, including a grace period of six years, The Assam Tribune reported.

The project will help Meghalaya to harness its vast growth potential for high-value agriculture and tourism, said a spokesman of the World Bank.

The Meghalaya Integrated Transport Project (MITP) will improve about 300 km of strategic road segments and stand-alone bridges by using innovative, climate-resilient, and nature-based solutions.

The segments will serve major agriculture areas, important tourist destinations, small-scale industries, major towns and underserved populations by linking them to markets, health and education centres, besides national and international corridors.

The project will also support innovative solutions such as precast bridges to reduce both time and cost of construction.

Today, about half of the 5,362 habitations in the state lack transport connectivity.

Difficult hilly terrain and extreme climatic conditions, including high and frequent rains, make Meghalaya’s transport challenges particularly complex, said the spokesman.

“This project will tap into Meghalaya’s growth potential in two ways. Within the state, it will provide the much-needed transport connectivity for underserved communities, farmers and firms. It will also position Meghalaya as a major connecting hub for international trade through the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal Corridor,” said World Bank Country Director in India, Junaid Ahmad.

This operation will also support the state government’s “Restart Meghalaya Mission” to revive and boost development activities affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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