Covid Corollaries: Projects mostly at risk in Maharashtra, UP, Tamil Nadu and AP. May 2020
Raghav Chandra, Chairman, NHAI, in his special address at CII’s recently held National Conference on Highways Construction Technology mentioned that NHAI has a larger vision for development and has changed its approach from output-based thinking to outcome-based thinking. He said, “The National Highway Management has moved from construction-based achievement approach to service-based achievement approach that would enhance competitiveness and user satisfaction.”
Chandra also spoke about green highways project and the importance of safety in highways, for which there are a lot of opportunities through the PPP model. He added, “The NHAI is keen to have private players to petrol the national highways, which would help in traffic management and maintain road discipline.” He further emphasised on the importance of use of products that are recycled and reused out of waste materials. “NHAI has initiated detailed studies about the feasibility of using waste materials in laying roads and to encourage the private sector to explore these options in infrastructure development.”
Ashish Chandran, Capital Projects & Infrastructure, PwC, in his address at the CII event opined that there is a positive move from construction focus to operation focus. He also mentioned that the technology options has increased, which are reducing cost such as e-tolling communications, information systems, etc. Further, NV Shetty, Chairman of the Conference & COO, GMR Highways, in his theme address, pointed out that the highways sector contributes about 5-6 per cent to the country’s GDP growth and this is largely driven by the ground breaking initiatives of the Central Government. “India has a wide and vast network of roads, offering immense opportunities in the sector.”
Additionally Ramesh Datla, Chairman, CII Southern Region & Chairman, Elico, in his welcome address opined that continuous action on infrastructure investments, improving connectivity through better roads and highways, rail networks and ports, uninterrupted power supply and communications network would go a long way to attract domestic and foreign investment on a sustained basis. “These are the areas where other developing nations such as China are ahead of us and as a result are more competitive,” he said. He further mentioned that the government has exhorted highways builders, contractors, and skill development institutions to come forward in a big way to train the local, unemployed youth in highways construction and upgrade skills of existing workers. “I would urge the government to take the cost of training during the skilling period, as per the minimum wages,” he said.
The first day of the conference organised by CII was well received with around 250 participants from the sector. Nrupender Rao, Chairman, CII Telangana & Chairman, Pennar Industries delivered a vote of thanks during the inaugural.