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India and ADB Sign $200 Million Loan for Rajasthan’s Urban Development and Heritage Preservation.

The Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a significant $200 million loan agreement to further support the ongoing Rajasthan Secondary Towns Development Sector Project. The project aims to extend water supply and sanitation systems, enhance urban resilience, and preserve heritage in selected towns of Rajasthan.

The loan agreement was signed by Mr. Vumlunmang Vualnam, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, representing the Government of India, and Takeo Konishi, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission.

Mr. Vualnam highlighted that the additional financing will contribute to the Government of Rajasthan’s commitment to bridging basic infrastructure gaps in secondary towns. The focus will be on expanding water supply and sanitation services and improving livability in selected urban local bodies.

As per Mr. Konishi’s statements, the initiative will integrate cutting-edge and environmentally sustainable measures to enhance urban amenities and preserve historical landmarks. Additionally, public-private partnerships will be piloted in the water and sanitation sector, fostering deeper private-sector engagement.

The ongoing project, approved in September 2020, has made substantial progress in providing water services to selected secondary towns in Rajasthan. To date, the project has successfully deployed an extensive network of 1,451 kilometers of water supply pipelines, along with 1,110 kilometers of sewer pipelines, providing access to water services for 68,098 households.

The additional financing will further improve water supply systems in at least seven towns by converting groundwater sources to surface water, replacing leaking water pipes, installing new water supply pipelines, and providing households with water meters. The plan also includes the establishment of three new water treatment plants.

Moreover, sanitation systems in at least eight towns will undergo improvement through sewer rehabilitation, the construction of sewage treatment plants, and household connections to the sewage system.

A unique aspect of ADB’s support is the development of water facilities for urban resilience and heritage-sensitive urban development in heritage towns or towns with strong tourism potential. This initiative involves the reconstruction of water structures with heritage value and the use of nature-based solutions to enhance climate resilience. Additionally, it includes the rehabilitation of heritage structures to improve living environments and attract more tourists.

The project will also create a special-purpose vehicle through public-private partnerships to address water security issues in Rajasthan’s manufacturing industry, encouraging private sector investments and financing. This will include designated pipe networks to carry treated wastewater from sewage treatment plants to industrial facilities.

The collaboration between the Government of India and ADB underscores their shared commitment to sustainable urban development and heritage preservation in Rajasthan’s secondary towns. Through this significant investment, the project aims to elevate the quality of life for residents, safeguard cultural heritage, and promote a more resilient and vibrant urban landscape.

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