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LESSONS:

West Bengal Corridor Development Project: Completion Report

sector: Transport | country: India

Project readiness. Project readiness should be enhanced before implementation. Project preparation was mainly conducted through ADB technical assistance projects. The engineering requirements of the state highway component were based on the government’s project feasibility study. At appraisal, a long list of rural access road (RARs) was prepared. During implementation, a large amount of work was required to review the engineering design for the state highways and select the RARs. Such tasks took a long time and delayed overall project implementation. For efficient project implementation, adequate project readiness should be ensured during appraisal. In addition, it should be considered during contract packaging whether large contracts would attract more experienced and better-performing contractors.

Capacity of the implementation agency. The initial project delay was mainly caused by holdups in establishing a fully functional PIU, and weak capacity in project implementation caused by staff shortages. Subsequently, during implementation, the PIU was enhanced by transferring some technical staff from the West Bengal Public Works (Roads) Department (WBPWRD). However, most of these individuals had little experience of internationally funded projects. A fully functional PIU, headed by a project director with adequate administrative, financial and technical authority needs to be in place from the appraisal stage. Capacity building programs, including trainings on ADB policy and procedure should be arranged at project appraisal.

Tight monitoring and control. Target-based periodic monitoring and close involvement by high-level government officials significantly contributes to tightening of monitoring and control of field activities, which helps to expedite project implementation.

Land acquisition and resettlement. At appraisal, preparation of the resettlement plans was mainly based on preliminary socioeconomic assessment, which resulted in large variation in the estimated number of affected people and utility relocations during implementation. In accordance with government and ADB policies, compensation and assistance was provided to non-titled affected people, and their income level was restored. Compensation and special assistance to vulnerable people was also monitored. In future projects, a detailed resettlement plan should be prepared with an almost final estimation of inventory of loss, land requirements, and availability of the right of way.

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