On Friday, the central government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) entered into an agreement, signing a $200 million loan to provide additional financing for the ongoing Rajasthan Secondary Towns Development Sector Project. The main objectives of this funding are to expand water supply and sanitation systems and enhance urban resilience and heritage preservation in selected towns, as stated by the Ministry of Finance.
The loan agreement was signed by Vumlunmang Vualnam, the additional secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance, representing the Indian government, and Takeo Konishi, the country director of Asian Development Bank India Resident Mission.
Vualnam, after the signing, expressed that the additional financing will aid the Rajasthan government in its efforts to bridge basic infrastructure gaps in secondary towns. This will be achieved through the expansion of water supply and sanitation services and an improvement in the overall livability of selected urban local bodies.
Konishi emphasized that the project will incorporate innovative and climate-resilient solutions to enhance basic urban services. It will also include nature-based approaches to restore heritage structures and explore the implementation of public-private partnerships in the water and sanitation sector to foster increased private sector involvement.
The ongoing project, which was initially approved in September 2020, has already made significant progress, having laid down 1,451km of water supply pipes, 1,110km of sewer pipes, and provided water services to 68,098 households in selected secondary towns in Rajasthan.
The additional financing will further enhance the water supply systems in at least seven towns. This will involve converting all groundwater sources to surface water, replacing approximately 700 km of leaking water pipes, installing 1,400 km of new water supply pipelines, and providing water meter connections to 77,000 households. Additionally, three new water treatment plants will be established.
Furthermore, at least eight towns will witness improved sanitation systems, including the rehabilitation of around 580 km of sewers, the construction of seven sewage treatment plants equipped with co-treatment units to process fecal sludge and septage, and connecting approximately 54,000 households to the sewage system.
Moreover, the project aims to rehabilitate at least 20 heritage or heritage-like structures to enhance the living environment and attract more tourists to the region, ultimately contributing to its cultural and economic growth.