The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on September 25 approved a $3 million (approx Rs 2,200 crore) loan to develop Rajasthan's secondary towns. In a statement, ADB said the loan has been approved to finance inclusive water supply and sanitation infrastructure and services in secondary towns of Rajasthan.
"The project is expected to build citywide access for improved water supply services for around 5,70,000 people and enhanced sanitation services for about 7,20,000 people in at least 14 secondary towns. These localities have 20,000-1,00,000 residents," it said.
"Partnership with ADB helps ensure a longer-term policy dialogue on deepening financial sustainability and institutional strengthening, particularly in local governments, and introduces new good practices,” said ADB Senior Urban Development Specialist for South Asia Na Won Kim.
Kim said that the use of smart technologies and a cost-effective system are the key innovative features that could be widely replicated in other cities in Rajasthan and beyond.
The Manila-headquartered bank said that through the project, water supply systems in at least eight project towns are expected to improve by 2027, with about 1,00,000 households, including all urban poor households, benefiting from five new or rehabilitated water treatment plants and 1,350 kilometres of distribution networks.
"Citywide sanitation systems based on the most cost-effective solutions will also be developed," it said, adding that the project will build on three earlier related projects and sector reforms funded by ADB in Rajasthan.
In a separate statement, ADB said that it has approved a $270 million (approx 1,989 crore) loan for construction of water supply and integrated stormwater and sewage management infrastructure in Madhya Pradesh.
The loan is additional financing intended to scale up the scope of the Madhya Pradesh Urban Services Improvement Project, which was approved in 2017 with a USD 275 million loan.
It will expand the outcome of the current project by benefiting an additional 1,85,000 households consisting of about 1.3 million people, ADB said.
The project will receive support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, specifically for the integration of Citywide Inclusive Sanitation principles into the planning, design, implementation, operation, and maintenance of the sanitation subprojects, it said.
"ADB’s support is aligned with the vision of the Government of Madhya Pradesh to improve urban infrastructure services with universal coverage of piped water supply in all urban local bodies by 2025," said ADB Urban Development Specialist for South Asia Laxmi Sharma.
Through inclusive water and sanitation services to the urban poor, the project will help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 or access to clean water and sanitation for all, Sharma added.