Road Projects
Fast tracking road building process, the transport ministry in a recent development has cleared the 80-km Theog-Hatkoti-Rohru highway upgradation project at a cost of Rs. 321cr with the World Bank granting approval for award of contracts for two stretches on the highway after re-tendering. The road stretch, which is the lifeline of the apple belt in upper Shimla regions, will commence before the year-end and will be completed by December 2015. Gurgaon-based C&C company, which was the lowest bidder, has been entrusted with the construction work. The 48-km stretch from Theog to Kharapathar and the 32-km Kharapathar-Rohru portions on the highway will be completed at an investment of Rs 179cr and Rs 142cr, respectively.

The entire project was initially awarded to a Chinese firm, Long Jian Road and Bridge Construction Company, for Rs 228cr as a single package. The company failed to arrange the necessary funds and manpower and could not execute the work on time. It could hardly manage execute only 22% of the work in five years for which it was paid Rs 62cr as a result of which the total cost of the project has now gone to Rs 383cr. The tardy implementation of the project made driving through the road a nightmare as the company had started widening work by cutting the hillside through the entire 80-km stretch. The delay has increased the overall cost of the World Bank-funded State Road Project under which 10 roads were being upgraded from Rs 1,365cr to Rs 1,802cr. The bank has agreed to provide additional loan worth $61 million to meet the increased cost and extended the completion schedule from December 2013 to 2016. Of the ten road projects, Una-Badsar (45 km), Ranital-Kotla (39.17 km) and Bhawarna- Junga Devi (26.28 km) roads have been completed. Badsar-Jahu (46 km) and Jahu-Kalkhar (15.30 km) roads were in final stages and likely to be completed by the end of this year.