DHARAMSHALA, July 22:A Chinese company has been slapped a notice and its country head summoned by the Himachal Pradesh government after it failed to meet the deadline to complete World Bank-funded road projects in the state.
Longjian Road and Bridge Company was shortlisted in 2008 to execute two projects — 80-km Theog-Kotkhai-Rohru stretch in Shimla district and 45-km Mehatpur-Una-Amb stretch in Una district.
The latter stretch of road is the principle passageway that connects the exile Tibetan headquarters of Dharamshala to the Indian capital New Delhi. Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, whenever he travels by road, commutes through this stretch of road currently being built by the Chinese firm.
Reports say that the roads were slated to be completed last year and early this year. However, work on the Rs 354 crore projects has almost come to a standstill.
“The government cannot wait anymore. The reports of the consultants and World Bank’s own assessments have raised doubts about the company’s capabilities to complete the projects, despite the extensions given,” state Public Works Minister Gulab Singh Thakur told the Indian Express earlier this month.
State road project chief engineer Naresh Sharma, who is monitoring the project, told Times of India that the Chinese firm had been issued many notices in the past over the delay.
"At present, the country head of the Chinese firm is in China and is expected to return on July 23. A meeting to be chaired by the chief secretary is scheduled for July 24 in which the Chinese firm would be asked to make a final decision on the project, as they have yet to arrange finances for the project," he was quoted as saying.
The firm, on the other hand, has been blaming the government for delays in land acquisition and later on the Centre’s move to cancel the visas of its officials working in India.
The Himachal Pradesh government in March decided to request the central government to strengthen security infrastructure after China violated Indian airspace from Lepcha border in Spiti region of Lahaul-Spiti district on March 16.
Himachal Pradesh and China occupied Tibet share around 200 kms of international border.