The Asian Development Bank is lending $190 million to India to boost the freight-carrying capacity of that nation's railroads.
The Railway Project will try to ease congestion along the Calcutta-to-Delhi rail corridor by installing new communication and signaling equipment. ADB's loan will also help pay for 30 new electric freight locomotives, repair workshops, training equipment and facilities.
Indian Railways is India's most important means of freight transport, carrying 60 percent of the country's cargo. But growth has been limited by inadequate equipment.
The new freight locomotives and the modernized lines will especially help coal users, such as power utilities and heavy industries, get their fuel more quickly and efficiently, which should have a beneficial effect on industrial growth.
The project's other goal is to give India the capacity to manufacture state-of-the art electric locomotives, thereby leading to future foreign exchange savings and reduced operating costs.
The total cost of the project, which is scheduled to be completed by August 1992, is $400 million. The project will be overseen by the Ministry of Railways.
The development bank also has granted a loan of $74 million to Bangladesh to construct and extend natural gas transmission pipelines to five districts in the mideastern part of the country.
The Brahmputra Basin Gas Transmission and Distribution Project will attempt to increase the use of domestic natural gas by constructing high-pressure gas transmission and distribution pipelines. ADB's loan will also help pay for operation and maintenance equipment, offices and workshops, and staff training.
The goal is to help Bangladesh meet its increased demand for commercial energy and thereby reduce dependence on imported fuel.
The project, which is scheduled to be completed by 1991, will cost $104 million, of which the bank is supplying 71 percent.