China-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has approved a USD 335 million loan for an electric metro project in Bangalore.
The investment in the Bangalore Metro Rail Project-Reach 6 (R6) is AIIB's first metro project and its first joint financing partnership with the European Investment Bank, which is the project's lead financier with 500 million euros in funding," state-run Xinhua news agency quoted an AIIB statement as saying.
"We're investing in this metro project because of its potential to greatly improve the mobility of commuters and further economic growth through better connectivity," AIIB Vice President and Chief Investment Officer D J Pandian said.
The metro project is 100 per cent electric.
"The project's impact on the reduction of fuel consumption and traffic congestion will also help reduce local air pollution and noise and make Bangalore a more livable city," Pandian was quoted as saying in the statement.
By expanding the city's metro system, the project will provide high-capacity north-south connectivity through the center of Bangalore, India's third most populated city, with a population of 9.6 million, the bank said.
"Travel times for some journeys impacted by the lack of a metro system are expected to drop from two hours today to 15 minutes when the R6 line is completed," the AIIB said.
The announcement came a day after the AIIB said it had approved a USD 250-million-loan for a natural gas project in China, the bank's first loan to a Chinese project.
Headquartered in Beijing, the China-proposed AIIB is a multilateral development bank focused on infrastructure investment, with a mission to improve social and economic outcomes in Asia and other regions.
The bank, which started operation in January 2016, currently has 80 approved members from around the world.
With authorised capital of USD 100 billion, China is the largest shareholder with 26.06 per cent voting shares.India is the second largest shareholder with 7.5 per cent followed by Russia 5.93 per cent and Germany with 4.5 per cent.