NEW DELHI: Ghana's most successful wholly state-owned bank, the Asian Development Bank had inked a loan deal of USD 150 million with Indian government to bring improvement in the rail freight services and passenger transport routes of the Indian Railways.
The financial assistance will help India to improve rail services along some of its busiest freight and passenger transport routes, providing double-track for about 840 kilometers of rail routes and electrifying about 640 kilometers.
As per plans, the installation of new signaling is also on cards. Besides, ADB will also extend its support in accounting reforms to improve operational and financial efficiency at Indian Railways.
The programme will bring down the fuel consumption and enhance energy efficiency, reduce pollution, ensure railway safety, increase the line capacity, improve staff productivity, and incorporate new financing modalities by following carbon credits under UNFCCC.
The total cost of Railway Sector Investment Program is estimated at US$ 1,144.6 million, which includes ADB's loan assistance of US$ 500 million (in four tranches) and Indian government funding is US$ 644.6 million. This is the 1st tranche for a total US$ 343.4 million (ADB loan US$ 150 million + GOI share US$ 193.4 million).
The loan agreement was inked between Venu Rajamony, joint secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of Indian government and Hun Kim, country director for India, on behalf of ADB.
Even though railways make up a considerable part of India's transport sector, constraints on high density railway routes present a chronic challenge, Venu Rajamony opined. He raised hopes that the programme will improve energy efficiency, safety, reliability, affordability, and environmental sustainability along key railway routes with heavy traffic.