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Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Indian Government have signed a 150 million dollar loan for first tranche of Railway Sector Investment Programme aimed at improving rail freight services and passenger transport routes.The programme will help India improve rail services along some of its busiest freight and passenger transport routes, providing double-track for about 840 kms of rail routes and electrifying about 640 kms, an official statement said here today.New signaling will also be installed. ADB will also support accounting reforms to improve operational and financial efficiency at Indian Railways.The total cost of the Railway Sector Investment Programme is 1,144.6 million dollars, out of which loan assistance from ADB is 500 million dollars (in four tranches) and Indian Government's funding is 644.6 million dollars.This is the first tranche for a total 343.4 million dollar (ADB loan 150 million dollars + Indian Government share 193.4 million dollars).The signatories to the loan... Read more...
were Mr Venu Rajamony, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India; and Mr Hun Kim, Country Director for India, on behalf of ADB.The project agreement was signed by Mr Satish Agnihotri, Managing Director, Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd.Speaking on the occasion, Mr Rajamony said that although railways make up a significant part of India's transport sector, constraints on high density railway routes present a chronic challenge. This programme should improve energy efficiency, safety, reliability, affordability, and environmental sustainability along key railway routes with heavy traffic, he said. Mr Kim said, "Our goal is to get people and goods moving more quickly and easily throughout India. Better railways not only help promote environmentally sustainable growth, they build better links between states and open opportunities to more people." The Indian Railways Vision 2020 highlights the need to remove infrastructure bottlenecks, design and deliver market-driven services, provide safe and reliable operations, and build capacity. ADB will also provide a programme linked technical assistance of 300,000 dollars to promote sustainable transport modes by monitoring carbon emission reductions from shifting bulk goods from road to rail. Ministry of Railways is the Executing Agency and Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd is the Implementing Agency for the programme.