Thursday , 21 September 2017

‘Process of approvals for road projects is fast-tracked’

Road Development has received a boost in the last three years. However, the EPC model needs a looking into, Santosh Rai, Head-Transport Sales, Hindustan Construction Company, tells Vidyottama Sharma.

Government of India has undertaken a lot of initiatives in the last three years for removing the bottlenecks in infrastructure as well as launching major new projects in Roads, Railways, Port connectivity and Urban development.

The process for clearance of MOEF approvals has been fast tracked. For road projects, 80% availability of land before start of work has been made mandatory.

Major road projects announced include National Highways Development Program, Bharatmala Pariyojana, and Special Accelerated Road Development Program for the North East. Investment of Rs 8.56 lakhCr has been announced for Railway Projects over the next five years.

Which areas do you think are neglected and must be given support and encouragement by the government?

Government initiatives have no doubt given a fillip to construction activity in the last three years. Road projects have accounted for maximum share of orders awarded in these three years. NHAI, in the recent past, has been putting a lot of emphasis on HAM projects which has led to a fall in road EPC orders. Major industry players are still highly leveraged and are suffering from stressed balance sheets. We would like the government to focus more on EPC orders.

Secondly, the Government needs to relook the existing model of EPC agreement and simplify the payment terms and dispute resolution practices.

What are your expectations from the government for infrastructure?

Roads and Railways have seen a lot of momentum in the last three years. We would like to see policy and regulatory reforms to revamp the water supply and irrigation sector. As a key source of renewable energy, hydro power is very critical for meeting the nation’s needs. The sector has witnessed muted implementation in the recent past.

Which big projects have you taken up or delivered in the last three years?

HCC has always taken up contracts that are of national importance. In the past three years, HCC has added a few prestigious contracts to its order book. The 36km four-laning of the Ramban to Banihal section of the NH1A in J&K was awarded to HCC by the NHAI. This section will help de-congest the traffic on the existing road that connects Srinagar with the rest of the country.

Road development has definitely picked up in last three years after a prolonged period of lull. As against 1000km awarded in 2013, FY 2016-17 saw awards of about 4,500km which is a 4.5 times increase.

IRCON International Ltd has awarded two orders to HCC. The first contract is to construct two tunnels (T13 & T14) totaling 12.8km length and a bridge of 200 metres adjoining the two tunnels on the Katra-Banihal section of the Udhampur-Baramula- Srinagar Railway line project. On the same section, HCC has bagged another contract to construct a Cable Stayed Bridge at Anji Khad which will connect the T2 & T3 tunnels.

HCC has also bagged the Mumbai Metro Line 3 Package’s two contracts to construct the 4.07km long underground section of the metro, starting from Chatrapati Shivaji terminus and going up to the Mumbai Central Metro stations.

In the transport sector too, HCC has completed the prestigious Kolkata Elevated Corridor and the NH34 Bahrampore – Farakka – Raiganj Highway project in West Bengal, the NH54 Maibang to Nirmbanglo Highway project in Assam and the underground sections, Package CC30 and CC34 of the Delhi Metro.

Other than these, HCC has also completed the Kuch Branch Canal in Gujarat, the Polavaram Canal in Andhra Pradesh and the Cavern for strategic storage of crude oil at Padur in Karnataka, and at Vizag in Andhra Pradesh.