December 23, 2013
MARGAO: A special meeting at Nuvem was held to discuss the construction of the Nuvem bypass road which was attended by Nuvem MLA Francisco ‘Mickky’ Pacheco who assured the residents that he would take up the matter and work towards finding a solution to the issues raised.
Around 450 residents were signatories to a representation drafted by local resident Jose Roque Andrade and the same was discussed at the Sunday meeting and resolution was passed in its favour. The villagers have demanded that a flyover be built along the Nuvem Majorda road.Andrade explained that the residents feared that after the completion of the Nuvem bypass (part of NH-17) and when it becomes operational, the villagers residing on the eastern and western side of this road will have difficulties to cross the said road due to heavy vehicular traffic.
“Therefore, a flyover is required along Nuvem-Majorda road. Moreover, we have the school and Church closeby, and we will be putting little children into a lot of inconvenience,” said Andrade.
The representation further observed that there are no proper ways for water to flow from higher level eastern side of the road to River Sal.
Another bone of contention with the villagers is the use of industrial waste ie steel slag as construction material, which has been objected to by the villagers and Pacheco in the past.
“The industrial waste/slag should be tested if it is suitable for road filling. Even if it is found suitable, the proper procedures have to be followed, now it will affect the surrounding environment,” said Andrade.
The villagers further demanded an environment impact assessment report as the road is made in wet land and agriculture land where both paddy crops, kharif and rabi are cultivated and that biodiversity in that area had to be protected. Villagers further demanded that preventive actions are taken to avoid man made disasters. The villagers further plan to submit the representation to all government departments concerned including the chief minister and district collector while Pacheco promised to follow up on the matter.
‘Unlike IPL matches, there is no noise when a new road fails’- An Interview-Prof. B.B. Pandey, Advisor – Sponsored Research and Industrial consultancy, IIT Kharagpur
September 18, 2013
Posted by PM News Bureau
— Prof. B.B. Pandey, Advisor – Sponsored Research and Industrial consultancy, IIT Kharagpur
Dr. B.B. Pandey, who has been associated with IIT Kharagpur since 1964, has developed a new technology for maintenance-free rural roads using recycled plastic and an ‘in-vehicle falling weight Deflectometer’ for evaluation of strength of Highways. In this interview with Lalitha Rao, he discusses the state of roads and highways in India and how technology can improve their quality and durability.
Are you satisfied with the current technology used in Indian road construction?
The technology used in India is almost the same as that practiced in developed countries. Many roads in India are constructed without any regard to the quality. Most road builders do not know or do not want to know the finer points of road construction.
Quality control is sacrificed in India in most roads. In USA, quality control tests are done both in contractors’ as well as the government’s laboratory and if the two results are in agreement, the work is accepted. Government’s laboratories in USA have state-of-the-art equipment and laboratory staff appears to be very knowledgeable, as found during my interactions with them.
Our government laboratories in different states are ill equipped and few have the expertise and familiarity with complex nature of tests that are needed for quality control even though the project cost is very high. That is one of the reasons that many of our state and district roads are damaged within two years of the construction as against minimum of five to 10 years of maintenance-free life for a newly constructed road surface in Europe and USA.
There is much hue and cry about the fixing of IPL matches, but there is hardly any commotion when a new road fails in India. Nobody is held accountable. There is no enquiry also.
In spite of having national standards, why does the quality of national highways differ from state to state?
Leaving aside tolled four- and six-lane national highways built and maintained by private concessionaires to an acceptable standard, other national highways passing through different states are looked after by the respective states. Level of expertise varies greatly from state to state and engineers in some states are a little more knowledgeable. No record of performance of roads is maintained and little effort is made to try different methods to get rid of recurring defects that develop during the service. Hardly new trials are made to develop better specifications. There are a few individuals in every state who are knowledgeable and they have a burning desire to do a good job given the freedom by the seniors in the government organisations.
Different states in India have different climate but practically the same specifications are adopted all over India. This is one of the reasons for widely different performance in different states. Performance of highways is continuously monitored in USA, in different states, and every state amends standards from time to time in light of the performance to suit the local climate. A large amount of fund is set aside by state governments in USA for practical research by universities so that students and faculty can actively participate in the solution of practical problems. Similar is the setup in other countries.
Such a system does not exist in India presently. Hopefully, things will change when right thinking daring officers take charge of the affairs of road infrastructure.
In a tropical country like India, which would you prefer – bituminous roads or concrete roads?
Both cement and bitumen industries employ lakhs and lakhs of people and both forms of roads have to be constructed. Properly built concrete roads are very durable though the initial cost is high. In localities where drainage is poor, bituminous roads get damaged in a short time while concrete roads survive. Bituminous roads are comfortable to drive due to much lower sound while a concrete road is very noisy. Drivers prefer well-made bituminous pavements
You have done research on maintenance-free rural roads using recycled plastic. Can you tell us more about it?
The technology consists of placing a formwork of cells of plastic strips over compacted soil, filling up the cells with concrete and compacting it with a plate vibrator. Alternatively, the cells are filled up with single size stone chips, compacted with a road roller and cement-sand-water slurry is applied over the compacted stone chips. The slurry fills up the void space between stone chips. Upon curing with water, a very strong road is formed which is practically maintenance free, the construction is labour intensive and local villagers are to be involved in cell making.
The technology was used about five years back in Karnataka, at Doddaballapur under Swarn Gram Yojana of the Panchayat Raj Engineering Department, Government of Karnataka. The technology was transferred to engineers of Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar. A road was constructed by IIT Kharagpur about eight years back in a village 10 km away and the road is still in good condition with zero maintenance. The cost was 50 per cent of a conventional road. Mizoram is going to adopt the technology in a big way.
What solutions do you have for potholed roads in the metros?A simple technique is now available for pothole repair in a short time. The area around the pothole is heated with LPG, the material is taken out, fresh bitumen is added to the same material along with some new aggregates, and the pothole area is refilled with hot bituminous mix and compacted. The pothole problem is thus fixed. Even when the road is wet, this method can be applied in metros. Cold bituminous mix using cut back or bitumen emulsion can be applied over other roads in dry periods.
Key problems and solutions
If one wants to destabilise a country, destroy its educational system. Our educational system is in shambles. Even in IITs, the students coming from better families lack ethics. Possibly, schools do not teach character building so that students take to righteous path in future. Masses do not have access to education. Lack of education and extreme poverty are root cause of many ills of rural society. They become victims of unsocial elements and commit crimes for a small reward. A good education is a must if we want to develop into a civilised society.
Our school education should emphasise on character building. Teachers have to be paid very high salaries. Unless there is missionary zeal on the part of all involved with flowering boys and girls, we cannot produce great souls in numbers. Teachers should demonstrate, by examples, different scientific experiments in the elementary class itself to generate curiosity in students at an early age. I was fortunate to have been taught science by a teacher in a very average school in Patna who demonstrated scientific experiments in class VIII in 1951. Nowadays it is not happening in most schools.
Barring a few exceptions, the aim of most research in academics is to get doctorate degrees and paper publications in order to get quick promotion for the faculty and a good job for the scholar .Most of the problems are theory based and scholars do get good training. Good investment in the form of scholarship and some additional grant is made in research in science and technology but the outcome is a doctorate thesis and published papers. The country does not benefit directly in terms of new products capable of generating wealth for the country. The Chinese are able to produce wealth because of their focus on applied research. We are not doing much because of lack of direction on the part of funding or user organisations.
Good amount of funds should be spent in time bound basic and applied research with positive outcome in mind so that the country becomes rich. Our import bill is too high compared to export. Now we are buying plenty of equipment from China in spite of having a large number of technical and scientific manpower.
India is not living up to its potential. There is plenty of talent in India. When a scientist goes to US or Europe, he does wonders. We are unable to use our talent. IIT graduates as well as those from NITs and other toppers in science and technology in different universities possess enough brain power and have the capability to lead the country in science and technology but they end up in marketing, banking, management because of attraction of money and glare. Many others who do not get prestigious jobs like those in civil services or paying jobs in private sector end up in research and teaching. It is not difficult to guess why DRDO is not able to produce quality tanks and other gadgets for warfare. Developed countries including China have gone far ahead in this direction. My laboratory, also, has purchased Chinese equipment and it is working fine.
Law enforcement is practically nil. Only a fraction of the cases come under the net of the law enforcing agency. Overloading on trucks on roads is to be regulated by motor vehicle department but it is not done in spite of Supreme Court’s directive for the enforcement of the law of the land regarding legal axle load limits of trucks. Roads are damaged in a short time. Huge sum of money invested in the road is lost.
Our policy is good, but its implementation has to be done very strictly. Senior students of schools/and colleges may be involved in a big way in developmental programmes of the government in rural areas, since they are still free from many vices. This sort of activity can be a part of the curriculum. Bookish knowledge alone without any purpose is ruining us.
Agriculture production is not showing much growth. Agricultural research is not making a wide impact. Some areas in Bihar which I visited show very low yield. Huge amount of groundwater is wasted in irrigation. Year after year, increasing amount of fertilisers is being used to maintain the yield. Quality of groundwater is going to be effected. Many areas on the banks of the Ganga in Bhojpur district of Bihar have underground water polluted with arsenic.
Tell us about your invention – weight deflectometer?
Falling Weight deflectometer (FWD) is not my invention. I developed one with the help of students after working on it over a period of six years. Its price in the international market is too high to be affordable by most consultancy and government organisation. The equipment consists of applying an impact load on a road and the deformed profile of the measured. From the impact load and the deformed profile, different layers of a road can be evaluated for its strength without damaging the road. The technology of FWD was transferred to an Indian company who has started manufacturing and selling at 25 per cent of the price of the imported equipment.
So, where does India stand today? Which direction is it headed?
Add to the above answers touching on these issues, the economic slowdown worldwide, on one hand, and subdued market sentiment, lack of political will, policy and reform paralysis, and infrastructure stagnation in India, on the other.
August 5, 2013
By PTI |
Road, Transport and Highways Minister Oscar Fernandes and senior officials from the ministry today held a review meeting of the road projects in North East with chief ministers and representatives of the states from the region.
“Land acquisition and forest clearance are the main issues in implementing the projects. We have the money, but we are getting stuck at implementation,” Chhibber said.
“Many state PWDs are not up to the mark in implementing the projects. Pre-construction activities are taking too much time in this region,” he added.
The Ministry is implementing an ambitious Special Accelerated Road Development Programme (SARDP-NE) to develop road network in this region, aiming to provide connectivity to all the district headquarters.
The two-phased programme, including Arunachal Package, covers about 10,141 km.
The phase A of SARDP-NE, including Arunachal Package, covers 6,418 km and is estimated to incur an investment of Rs 33,688 crore during the 12th Five-Year Plan. The phase B is in conceptual stage.
Out of that, 2,000 km is planned for the current fiscal at an investment of Rs 3,100 crore, Chhibber said.
So far, about 1,000 km have been completed and the entire project is targeted for completion by June, 2016.
The project is being executed by the state PWDs, Border Roads Organisation, National Highways Authority of India and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
November 5, 2012
The highways ministry has said that the government must execute its ambitious project of constructing 9,500 kilometres of roads beginning this fiscal, through the public-private partnership route in the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode as all other mechanisms of constructions have turned out to be costlier and time consuming exercises.
In a note to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), the ministry has suggested that in view of the government’s objective of constructing 20 kilometres of roads per day as per the National Highways Development Programme, the Union Budget 2012-13 has had set a target of constructing 8,800 kilometres of roads this year, which was subsequently revised to 9,500 kilometres for the national highways.
It has sought the CCEA’s approval for constructing 4,000 kilometres this fiscal followed by 3,000 kilometres next fiscal and another 1,500 kilometres in 2014-15 through the EPC mode.
The ministry has justified this move by saying that the annuity mode in build, operate and transfer (BOT) projects is a high cost proposition in a high interest rate regime.
Under the “Waterfall Mechanism” recommended by the BK Chaturvedi Committee, highways with traffic density of 5,000 passenger car unit (PCU) can be taken up under the EPC mechanism.
But for roads with a higher PCU density it has said that BOT (Annuity) will have to be tested before executing them through EPC, which leads to unnecessary delays in the award of projects.
Since the majority of road stretches that were attractive to bidders are already under implementation, the remaining ones would necessarily be less attractive for bidders for taking them under the BOT (Toll) mode. The ministry cited the Planning Commission for having opposed the BOT-Annuity mode.
The ministry has asked the CCEA to empower it for awarding projects in the EPC route without having to go for implementation under the annuity mode.
It has also asked for the present ceiling of 4,000 kilometres of four-laning under National Highways Development Programme-Phase IV to be raised to 8,000 kilometres.
May 31, 2012
Infraline Energy Research & Information Services, an accredited premier service provider of critical business information, industry databases, business intelligence and related services in the energy and infrastructure sector is coming up with second annual edition of conference on the subject Roads and Highways in India: Strategising Growth and Empowerment, on June 28, 2012 at New Delhi.
The conference will provide a platform to discuss the issues on
- infrastructure quality,
- quality consultants & contractors, financing,
- issues and challenges and
- way forward for the Roads and Highways industry.
The conference has received support from the National Highway Authority of India and Mr. S K Puri, former Director General & Special Secretary MoRTH will be the Conference Chairperson.
The conference also plans to throw light on issues such as:
- Current status of Roadways Progress in India
- Key growth trends in road development
- Lack of trained and skilled manpower
- Major acts impacting the sector
- Bidding process
- Project scheduling and inherent challenges of execution
- Risk-return dynamics– Driver for investments
- Trends in financing road projects
- Viability Gap Funding
- Challenges in financing of road projects
- Effectiveness of EPC vs. PPP mode of awarding projects
- Upcoming Opportunities in OMT Contracts
- Mega Highway Projects- Boom or Bust in Indian outlook
- Emerging concept of equipment rental
- NHAI’s Plan & Initiative
- Opportunities in the sector in the 12th Five-Year Plan Period
The conference is targeted at National and State Roads Authorities, Construction Companies, Technology Providers, Regulatory Agencies, Equipment Manufacturers, EPC Contractors, Consultants, Banks and Financial Institutions, Suppliers, Designers, etc.
To register contact:
Mobile: +91 98998 66251
Sadbhav Engineering: Low debt, consistent growth record make the company an attractive investment option
October 18, 2011
Ahmedabad-based Sadbhav Engineering is a diversified construction company, with projects related to construction of roads and highways, irrigation and mining. It has completed over 48 projects across these sectors. A substantial portion of the company’s revenues — around 70% –comes from road projects, while the remaining comes from mining (17%) and irrigation (13%) projects.
INVESTMENT RATIONALE : Sadbhav Engineering’s ability to maintain margins consistently makes it a good investment prospect. In the last five financial years, the company has been able to maintain its operating profit margin at 11-12% and net profit margin at 4-5%. This seen in the light of the changing interest rate scenario indicates the company’s sound project execution ability. Another factor that has helped the company maintain margins is its low debt and interest expense. Even as interest rates have increased over the last year-and a-half to June 2011, the company’s interest expense as a percentage of net sales has stayed in the 1-2.5% range, while the company’s net sales have grown by 34% to Rs 612 crore in the same period. It has an order book of Rs 6,586 crore, a big chunk of which comes from build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects.
October 10, 2011
Mr Gurjeet Singh Johar, a Chartered Accountant by profession, did not have any prior experience in construction when he, with his partners, incorporated C&C Constructions in 1996.
Today, as Chairman of the Rs 1,290 crore company, Mr Johar speaks to Business Line as he hunts for acquiring stakes in BOT projects, opportunities in hydel power, and sets Rs 1,800 crore turnover target for the next 2-3 years. Excerpts:
Why did you choose this sector?
I had picked up quite a bit about doing business with my previous employers, and my partners had good construction acumen. We zeroed in on road construction. Today, we are in concessions in roads, parking, checkposts, also doing the largest power transmission job (UP Government tender).
The USP of our group is to identify areas that are difficult to access, less competition. But, we do not just limit ourselves to such jobs — we are also present in ‘mass’ areas.
What is your current debt-equity ratio? Any plans to raise debt?
It is at 1.5. We want to maintain it that level — it should not be more.
Do you get offers to offload equity?
In this market everybody wants to buy. At these prices, we would not want to do any equity transaction. We feel the company’s valuation is quite low.
Has the promoter holding gone up in the company?
There has been a creeping acquisition (In June 2011, promoters held 64.15 per cent — up from 63.43 per cent in March 2011) We are continuing to do it…There is about two per cent (more) that we could buy.
What kind of balance do you want to maintain between contract and BOT projects?
We will be both in contracting and BOT. The balance sheet can only support a certain level of BOT projects and your appetite is much bigger. Over the next few years, if I can get 25-30 per cent of the contract from my own BOT projects. We are moving to buildings, looking at power generation on hydel front.
In the construction space what is a reasonable return level?
The profit before tax (PBT) in construction should be at least 8-10 per cent range. In concession (build-operate-transfer or BOT) side, I would not do anything less than an internal rate of return (IRR) of 15 per cent. There will always be a one-odd transaction just to ensure there is business.
In a competitive backdrop do you see players offloading their stakes in projects?
I see over the next year or so a lot of BOT projects being available at discounts. I am waiting.
There have been offers…it is too early to give their names.
How do you manage risks like interest rate, inflation, etc?
When you are in construction — you could be in BOT or pure contracting. In BOT projects, one has to be very careful about interest rates and inflation. Interest rates are at their peak today. I can only hope they come down. But in construction contracts, we have pass through escalation clauses. So, we are fairly well covered.
August 23, 2011
Itanagar Aug 19 (PTI) Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways C P Joshi has given an assurance to put the Trans Arunachal Highway (TAH) on the fast track by removing all bottlenecks, particularly the environmental and forest clearance. Joshi�s assurance came after two high-level review meetings on the progress of the ambitious project on August 12 and 17 last at New Delhi, Lok Sabha member from Arunachal Takam Sanjoy said in a press release here today. The review meetings were held against the backdrop of letters written to Joshi recently by Chief Minister Jarbom Gamlin and Sanjoy, seeking the granting of environment clearance for the construction and renovation of the 2,319 km road by the ministry under the Arunachal package of roads and highways. The state PWD has been entrusted the 750 km pre-construction activities of BoT (annuity) projects of the Nechiphu-Hoj and Potin- Pangin roads and bridges across Dibang and Lohit river systems for executing the project. Sanjoy who attended the review meetings said that completion of the project was a top priority agenda for the Centre as it was a part of the PM�s package announced for the state in his maiden visit to the state during 2008. �The road project is very important for national security as the double-lane highway will link 11 of the 16 district headquarters of Arunachal, including Tawang along the Sino-India border,� Sanjoy said.
August 23, 2011
Construction firm MBL Infrastructures today said it has bagged a road development project worth an estimated Rs 212 crore from Madhya Pradesh Development Corporation.
The road project, to be executed through a wholly-owned subsidiary, is in the Seoni and Balaghat districts of Madhya Pradesh and passes through the towns of Seoni, Ari, Tighra, Kehaji, Paraswada and Kantangi.
“MBL Infrastructures Ltd has been awarded the project for developing the Seoni-Katangi to Maharashtra Border Section of State Highway-54 of Madhya Pradesh on a BOT (toll) basis by Madhya Pradesh Road Development Corporation,” the company said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.
While the concession period for the project is 30 years, the stipulated construction period is 730 days, it said.
August 6, 2009
Ranchi, July 31: The Union Cabinet has finally cleared the project to widen the Ranchi-Hazaribagh stretch of NH-33, considered the lifeline of the state, making it the first project in the region — including Bihar — to be executed under build, operate and transfer (BOT).
The Cabinet sanctioned Rs 688 crore yesterday for four-laning 71km of the highway which means that a consortium of IL&FS Transportation Networks Limited (ITNL) and Punj Lloyd would now be awarded a contract by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
According to the terms of the BOT-annuity plan, the project will have to be completed in two and-a-half-years. The consortium would be paid Rs 64.08 crore every six months for the next 15-and-a- half years.
In all, the government would be paying the consortium approximately Rs 1,900 crore, the funds for which would be sanctioned in future. The consortium will, however, be responsible for maintaining the road for 18 years from the date of awarding of the contract.
“Now NHAI will issue a letter of intent following which a contract agreement will be signed with the consortium. This will be the first project in Jharkhand and Bihar to be executed under BOT-annuity basis,” Lt Col Chandan Vatsa, the NHAI general manager (BOT), told The Telegraph from Delhi, sounding relieved that the project had crossed its final hurdle.
Four-laning of the Ranchi-Hazaribagh stretch was in phase III of National Highway Development Programme’s (NHDP) which was cleared by the Centre in 2005. But it was held up as the past three attempts to invite bids did not yield results.
Vatsa, however, warned that the state, now under president’s rule, had a lot more to do so that land acquisition, forest clearances and other permissions were speeded up.
“Only about 48 per cent land required for widening the road is under NHAI’s possession. As per the Model Concession Agreement approved by government of India, at least 80 per cent possession of land is mandatory before a contract cab be awarded. So now the state administration must pull up its socks,” the NHAI official said.
NHAI has also provided for a 4.2km bypass in the Kujju area of the highway to avoid the fire zone that has already made commuting in the stretch dangerous. The by-pass, that would run on a new alignment, has been included in the proposed four-laning project.
The total length of the Ranchi-Hazaribagh stretch of NH33, including the bypass, would work out to be 71.16km.
“The new proposed alignment will avoid the existing fire zone in and around Kujju. It could well be the safest zone. But once the project starts we will need to conduct soil, bore hole and other geological tests to assess the exact magnitude of the underground fire,” Vatsa added.
M.K. Pandey, the manager (technical) of NHAI, said they have apprised Delhi about the situation at Kujju. “After conducting the geological tests, the authorities may even decide to alter the alignment of the Kujju bypass once work starts, ” he said.