Experts to converge in Guwahati for Infrastructure

01 Aug 2023

In addition to the unfortunate incidents of violence that have been reported in the North East, it is essential to highlight the strategic steps taken by the central government to bolster the region's infrastructure.

FIRST Construction Council, in association with Infrastructure Today and Construction World, supported by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, is hosting the Infrastructure Today Conclave - North East on 4th August 2023 at Taj Vivanta in Guwahati, Assam. At the event that aims to decode the government's master plan and infrastructure growth strategy to transform the northeast region, Cabinet Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Government of India, Nitin Gadkari will be the chief guest and Parimal Suklabaidya, Minister of Transport, Government of Assam, will be the guest of honour. Lok Ranjan, Secretary, Ministry of Development of North East Region (DoNER) Govt of India, Dr Kumar Pratap, Economic Advisor, Ministry of DoNER, Lieutenant General Harpal Singh, former Engineer-in-Chief and Director General, Border Roads Organisation will unveil the plans for the North eastern region in the inaugural session.

‘Financing the North East’ session, will explore innovative financing models, attracting investments, and addressing the unique requirements of infrastructure projects in this region.

Dr Geetima Das Krishna, Head – North East Desk, Invest India, will moderate the session with speakers like: PVSLN Murty, CMD, NEDFi, Kumar Padmapani Bora, IRS, Project Director & First Appellate Authority, Assam Infrastructure, Palash Srivastava, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Director, IIFCL Projects, Vijay Agrawal, Executive Director, Equirus Capital and Anjan Sarma, Project Development Expert, Asian Development Bank.

"The terrain in the North East is treacherous, yet critical. On the one hand, we have a case of denied equal opportunities for the North Eastern region, and on the other, our borders deserve strategic attention," emphasises Pratap Padode, Founder & President of the FIRST Construction Council. "FIRST Construction Council is creating a platform for critical issues relating to infrastructure for the North Eastern region to be accelerated. Economic connectivity attained through infrastructure will douse insurgency in the region too," he adds determinedly.

At the recently concluded Construction Technology Summit, Lieutenant General Rajeev Chaudhary, Director General, Border Roads Organisation, Ministry of Defence, Government of India, pointed out that “Roads are the backbone of development. Once a road is constructed, other infrastructure facilities like electricity, water, sanitation, schools, health services, banking services follow.”

He described how villages, situated high up on the hills, had begun losing young unemployed men to the lure of city opportunities but with the advent of infrastructure they have been able to reverse the migration. Now some villages have grown in population due to availability of infrastructure.

The announcement by India’s Finance Minister regarding execution of several rail, road, and air connectivity projects in the Northeast highlights the government’s commitment to bridging the gap between the region and the rest of the country. With the development of 4,000 km of roads, 20 railway projects covering 2,011 km and 15 air connectivity projects, the Northeast will witness enhanced accessibility and smoother movement of goods and people. Additionally, the focus on waterway connectivity, including the development of national waterways on the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Barak rivers, presents a cost-effective transportation option, leveraging the riverine systems of India and Bangladesh.

Experts will also discuss the thought-provoking topic of 'Boosting development by strengthening connectivity' in the Northeast. They will share their development plans and expectations from contractors for executing the proposed projects.

The speakers include A Selvakumar, Director of Inland Waterways Authority of India, who will focus on waterways & ports and accessing new economic potential with ports. AK Sharma, General Manager (Engineering-Civil) at the Regional Headquarters, NER, Guwahati, Airports Authority of India, will share his expertise on air connectivity with Udan. Chetan Kumar Shrivastava, General Manager of North East Frontier Railway, will provide insights on railway connectivity and efforts to integrate the North East into the grid. Additionally, Lieutenant General Rajeev Chaudhary, Director General of Border Roads Organisation, will share vital inputs on 'Road to transformation: Establishing road infrastructure.' There will be also an interesting take on ‘Roping in ropeways to connect difficult hilly areas in North East’ by Prakash Gaur, Chief Executive Officer, National Highways Logistics Management. Dr Vibha Dhawan, Director General, TERI and Arun Goyal, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission will also discuss the energy transition.

This is what industry leaders commented:
Gaurav Agarwal, Partner, Bitumix India LLP, said, "Our indigenous innovations are designed to fortify the road network in diverse terrains and climate conditions, making them perfect for the North-East's evolving infrastructure."

Vasanth Thangavelu, General Manager, Communication Marketing, Exxon Mobil, said, “With years of proven performance, our lubricants are expertly formulated to meet challenges faced by both large and small enterprises of a rapidly developing country like India.”

Kuriakose Varghese, Managing Partner, KMNP LAW, said, “Speedy resolution of disputes is one of the keys that can unlock the vast infrastructural potential of the north-eastern region.”

VG Sakthikumar, Chairman and Managing Director, Schwing Stetter India, said, “The infrastructure landscape of northeast India is transforming fast with the government's focus and commitment.

The company is playing a great role in the development of roads, highways, rail, airport, refinery, and various infra projects and is happy to be part of Infrastructure Today Conclave Northeast.”

Rajeev Agarwal, Vice President, FiNER, said, “Construction World and FINER proudly bring Infrastructure Conclave to North East region here in Guwahati. To progress along the vision of PM Narendra Modi and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari we thank the government for developing the North East region through accelerated investments."

For those who want to explore the unlocking opportunities in the North eastern region, the Conclave is the answer.

Related Stories