India-China visa logjam has Chinese firm saddled with World Bank funded road project in Himachal

Mehatpur-Una-Amb road 15 months behind schedule & Theog-Kotkhai-Rohru road 2 years behind schedule

Shimla: While India is troubled with China over issuing stabled visas to Kashmiri residents, a Chinese construction company here is on the verge of defaulting over executing two prestigious World Bank funded road construction contracts because of Chinese engineers not having been issued work visas by India.

“In order to protect our reputation and even though we are running up losses, we want to complete the contracts,” says Yuan, project manager with Chinese government backed Longjian Road and Bridge Company, that is executing the job.

With just 18 percent of the target completed on widening and strengthening of 45 Km Mehatpur-Una-Amb road and 10 percent job done on the 80 Km Theog-Kotkhai-Rohru road, and the contract timeline due to end in Nov, 2010 and May 2011, the company is desperately seeking time extensions with 15 percent cost escalations.

Part of a Rs 1365 crore World Bank Funded Himachal Pradesh State Road Projects, these two contracts worth Rs 356 crore were awarded through international competitive bidding in May-June, 2008 and had a 30 and 36 month construction period.

Yuan says, “we require at least 15 months more for completing the first road and 24 months extra for completing the second road.”

Short of manpower and working with on 11 Chinese engineers, he adds “at least 100 Chinese workers are needed for executing projects of this size.”

Having drawn a lot of flak for the bad road conditions, especially for the Theog-Kotkhai-Rohru road, chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal at a review meeting on Wednesday asked for speeding up the construction work.

Running through a major apple producing area, orchard owners from Kotkhai-Rohru have laid the blame on the government for the losses incurred in the recent harvest because of road construction activity having hindered movement of packaging material and marketing of the regions sole cash crop. Dhumal directed the public works department to complete the road on priority.

Project schedules began to lag soon after the Indian government revoked working visas for Chinese workers in Sept 2009. Two months later only 11 work permits were issued.

Other reasons for delays, project manager cites “the sites are not free of problems like land acquisitions, removal of electricity and water supply lines and compensations having been paid wherever they need to be.”

“Even after having invested Rs 17 crore on new equipments, progress has been slow,” he said, “because during work time traffic has to be allowed on these roads, which reduces efficiency by as much as 50 percent.

During the heavy rainy season, work had to be stopped on the Kotkhai-Rohru road for allowing timely movement of heavy vehicles involved in marketing operations of apple crop, said Yuan.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

5 Comments

  • lot of highway engineers(native) working in different part of india,doing gr8 jobs,y govt.go behind chinese company,project manager correctly said for more manpower,he can use indian engineers also,if will is there.
    dhumal sir,trust us,govt enggs doing nothing,projects like this requires “value of time”.
    dukhi mundu.

  • I beleive these chinese companies should be banned for entering into India (although may be by international competetiv biding), Chiniese enginners may be busy spying for there country rather than concentrating on the work they have been assigned….. I dont understand why HP govt allowing chinese companies to operate in our statte which is having a long border with china,,, Karmapa link is itself a conclusive proof of what these chinese backed monestries doing in HP ………. Thanks to Nehru for all what is happening today in our state and in our country………….

    • Amit,

      Its not about Nehru or Gandhi, its our fate that all our leaders from all parties are selling & brokering INDIA at every step.. And same leaders start posing as a national saviors and Messiahs when anything goes weired and caught by media.

      Be it issue of National security or internal dispute , politicians and corrupt system has ruined a sentiment known as “Nationalism” .

      Digesting all the non sense we see everyday around us…..Time has come to declare “National Corruption Day” & “Loot INDIA Day”. School children should be taught new subject “Corruption” as this is most heard and discussed subject everywhere around us, all subjects we have read till now gone pale and look like peanuts in front of this new one..lols

  • Dear sir,

    It is OK that Indian Construction companies should work overseas or foreign Construction companies come here. But it would be fatal if we award the work to Chinese Construction companies in strategiv location where there is border with China or Pakistan.

    Lots of Chinese contractors have been entrusted for the work of state highway improvement & reconstruction work in Himachal Pradesh. Himachal being close to China may pose danger in the future. Here Dalai Lama is also residing. Chinese Construction companies have bagged the work in lowest rate albeit they may have passed pre-qualification criteria. Here biggest threat is that considering China’s diplomatic/security & colluding policy with Pakistan & even it’s conflicting relation with India with regard to Arunachal Pradesh or even Tibet issue may make it to formulate evil- designs to get the inputs, conditions, route survey etc. This will be disaster to India. While awarding contracts , this life to death concern was not understood . India is not constructing anything in China. Doing trade business is different but giving them establishment that too in border states where situation is so vulnerable will invite havoc. If they are doing construction in Delhi or where border is not falling, it is not of that much concern.

    They may have sinister designs & may try get Trans- Himalayan Highway Project & Trans- Arunachal Highway Project ( which govt. is proposing to construct in Arunachal Pradesh ) .

    China has been carrying rapid infrastructural development in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and in areas along the border with India. It is is carrying out construction of strategic roads, railway lines and airfields close to the LAC, which has improved its military capability. This is the area where struggle is there from last 60 years from inside the region itself who wants to be free.

    This must be checked as it directly deals with India’s security.

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