The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a grant of US$ 12 million to Nepal to upgrade roads and airports, crucial to improving access to isolated, poor communities.
The aid will be given from its concessional Asian Development Fund for the Nepal Transport Project Preparatory Facility. The facility will ensure that important road and air transport projects are prepared in advance, and implemented quickly and efficiently, said a press statement issued by the ADB.
“Making remote communities accessible by road or air is crucial to the growth of trade and tourism and critical for the delivery of essential social services that so many of these poor communities lack,” said Dong-Kyu Lee, senior Transport Specialist in the ADB’s South Asia Department. Nepal is highly reliant on road and air links to transport people and goods around its diverse terrain, which includes steep mountains in the north, hills in the centre and lowland plains in the south.
However, the road network in remote, upland areas is in poor condition, while many of its 47 airports urgently need upgrading to improve safety and capacity, with the volume of air traffic expected to double by 2019 as tourism grows.
To help move them forward quickly and efficiently, the ADB facility will fund feasibility studies, and other key preparatory measures to reduce the time between the concept stage and the start of physical works.
At least two road transport projects and one air transport project will be prepared under the facility, with priority given to roads that link to sub-regional transport corridor routes.
The ADB is funding 87 percent of the total project cost of US$ 13.8 million with the government providing the balance of US$ 1.8 million.
The executing agencies are the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works for the road component and the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal for the air transport component. The facility is due for completion in December 2015.