A World Bank-funded 80-km-long Theog-Kotkhai-Hatkoti-Rohru road has been re-allotted to C & C Constructions Ltd. with the increased cost of execution to Rs.321 crore from Rs.228 crore earlier. The work on the road is likely to commence this year and is expected to complete by end 2015.

The PWD official said the World Bank had granted approval for awarding the contract to the new bidder and to complete it in time, the entire stretch has been divided into two portions – 48 km stretch from Theog to Kharapathar and 32 km portion between Kharapathar and Rohru. The first stretch would be completed at a cost of Rs.179 crore, while the second at Rs.142 crore.

At present, the dilapidated condition of Theog-Kotkhai-Hatkoti-Rohru road is a motorist’s nightmare. It is the lifeline for Shimla’s prominent apple belt and carries out annual apple business worth Rs.1, 200 crore. Due to the bad condition of road, transporters charge high freight from apple growers and even their crops are also damaged during transportation and resulted into loses to their returns.

Earlier, work of the Theog-Rohru road was awarded to Chinese firm Longjian Road and Bridge Company, but due to inadequate funding of the project and non-mobilisation of resources by the company, it could not complete it within stipulated period and thus State government had to terminate the contract in August 2012.

CPS and local MLA Rohit Thakur said that Virbhadra Singh led state government is concerned for the apple growers of the region and will ensure to complete it within stipulated timeframe. He said that he himself is an apple grower and knows the problems of growers.