Theog Rohru road is turning into a political battleground as both Congress and BJP are blaming each other for the present condition of the road. Ex MLA Rohit Thakur had blamed Govt. for the delay and dilapidated condition of the road, whereas Horticulture Minister and local MLA Narinder Bragta blamed the previous Govt for the road condition and said that road had been delayed for various reasons. Minister said that out of the 80-km stretch undertaken for widening under the World Bank project, as much as 47 km required improvement. To expedite the work, Bragta said that PWD would work on the 33 km and a contractor on the remaining 14 km. He said that Tenders has been invited for it. As the Chinese company, which had been awarded the Rs 225-crore contract, had failed to complete the work, the money spend by the PWD would be recovered from it later.
“The Theog-Hatkoti road construction and upgradation work was awarded to a China-based company by the previous Congress Govt, which has not been able to meet the deadline, resulting in serious problems. The Govt has identified 33 Kms stretch which is in very bad condition. For this, instead of the Chinese company, the state’s Public Works Department (PWD) will carry out the maintenance and upgradation work. Tenders have already been floated by the PWD for this and they will ensure that the work is completed before the next apple season so that people do not face any more hardships”.
Narinder Bragta alleged that opposition Congress is trying to take political mileage by blaming the government for the delay and added that the fact was that previous Govt had showed undue haste in inviting tenders for awarding the project. The tendering process was started and contract awarded without obtaining various mandatory approvals, particularly the forest clearance, which actually delayed the work.
Minister gave details of various clearances, felling of trees and works undertaken in a chronological order to substantiate his charge that the delay was on account of the haste shown by the Congress. As per the terms of the contract, the road was to be handed over to upgrade with all necessary clearances, but reality was different to it. He said the BJP, which came to power subsequently, could not do much as it was a World Bank project and any review would have delayed matters and the state might have lost the project.
In the last three years, apple growers suffered the most because of the bad condition of the road, however Horticulture Minister assured the growers that government would not allow the growers to suffer because of the inefficiency of the Chinese company and it would ensure that the good road for the apple season.