Elections are back but so is the smog and the end of the year. Some collateral benefits or features of elections include rapid decision-making, rapid project execution, timely payments, brisk purchase of materials and equipment due to release of liquidity, increase in cash transactions and so on.

While construction of the Ram Mandir will be the most-talked about project during this period, the towering 182-m ‘Statue of Unity’ recently emerged on the project horizon making its mark. Let the political criticism of the investment in the statue not undermine the brilliance of project execution and its timely delivery, both of which are world-class.

Great projects with super engineering make for a country’s perception as an emerging power. And, world-class project execution builds up its reputation as an emerging super-power. Just as our narrative revolved around red tape and project delays that caused everyone to turn skeptical about everything that was announced! Such execution excellence contributes to building confidence, expectation and aspiration.

The Navi Mumbai International Airport is expected to be a class apart, just as the current Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai proved to be. Metro projects have so far delivered on their execution, and while more routes maybe the need of the day, that can hardly be the fault of our project managers.

Already, technology is beginning to make a difference. Maha Metro is using the 5D Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology, which automates project management by enabling visualisation of the exact structure of a particular building entity by rendering the precise dimensions at the design stage itself. It enables sharing designs and drawings of the construction work, accounting work, site activity, bill approval, budgeting, quality management and the entire documentation. Nagpur Metro is progressing as per the timelines and 10 per cent of the cost has already been saved, as quoted in the DPR, which amounts to about Rs 8 billion due to use of technology. While other metro projects are going ahead with a 10.5-m viaduct, Nagpur Metro has opted for a 8.5-m viaduct, which helped them save around $18 million. In addition, MMRC saved around 8.5 per cent on DPR of the project cost and around $60,000 on Metro Bhavan HQ because of early detection of quantity overrun through BIM mode and clash detection.

A report released by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation in July 2018 revealed that as many as 296 infrastructure projects, each worth Rs 1.5 billion or above, have shown cost overruns to the tune of over Rs 3 trillion owing to delays. Reasons include delay in land acquisition, forest clearance, supply of equipment, fund constraint, Maoist incursion, legal cases and law and order situation.

Given the huge cost of projects at stake, their deferment can make or mar the fortunes of a city. The Bullet Train project, for instance, includes 60 bridges to be built on the high-speed railway corridor between Gujarat and Mumbai. The Rs 120-billion Coastal Road project will see the use of New Austrian Tunnelling Method (NATM) for tunnelling work of over 3.45-km-long twin tunnels running from the Princess Street flyover to Priyadarshini Park, under Girgaum Chowpatty and Malabar Hill, in Mumbai. Project management and use of technology need to drive the next phase of building and rebuilding India.

Wishing our readers, a happy new 2019!