The roads and water sectors remain key interest areas for Welspun

The roads and water sectors remain key interest areas for Welspun

With a robust presence in the roads and the water sectors, which stand at 54 per cent and 46 per cent respectively,Welspun Enterprisesis keen to work on value accretive projects across different development models. Yogen Lal, COO (Water) and Neeraj Gupta, COO (Roads),share more…....

With a robust presence in the roads and the water sectors, which stand at 54 per cent and 46 per cent respectively,Welspun Enterprisesis keen to work on value accretive projects across different development models. Yogen Lal, COO (Water) and Neeraj Gupta, COO (Roads),share more…. Timely infra growth entails the use of innovative machines and technology. How has Welspun responded to this development for the roads and infra projects under its ambit? Yogen Lal: We have recently bagged a major contract for the design, build, operation and maintenance of a 418 mld sewage treatment plant (STP) in Dharavi, Mumbai, from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).The land parcel available for construction of the STP provides the lowest footprint available, merely 125 sq m/mld as against other STPs that have footprints varying from 225 to 230 sq m/mld. Consequently, we are constrained to go in for a multi-tier STP with a height of 50 m, making it one of the most complex STPs globally. We are sourcing technology and processes from global leaders in water technology to engineer this STP. Our engineering for the project is being done on 3D software, which helps us manage the interfaces between the structural and electrical, mechanical and instrumentation designs without any conflicts during construction. For project management we are using 5D building information modelling (BIM) integrated with drone feeds to help us stay on track with regards to progress. We will be using the sewage to generate biogas that will reduce the net energy required to operate and maintain the plant after construction. Given the density of population in Dharavi, we have proposed the use of sodium hypochlorite instead of chlorination to mitigate any risk of gas leaks when the plant remains operational. We are using odour-control technology to prevent foul smell from the plant affecting the residents staying nearby. And during construction, we are considering the use of system formwork to enable us to hasten construction and ensure watertightness of the water-retaining structure. Welspun was keen to increase its footprint across the water supply chain, including bulk water transmission, water treatment and inland waterway projects. Please share the latest inroads you have made in such projects. Yogen Lal: Welspun Enterprises is currently executing two large value projects in the water domain. As part of the Jal Jeevan Mission wherein rural households are being provided with access to tap water, Welspun is executing projects covering over 2,500 villages across five districts in Uttar Pradesh for the Uttar Pradesh State Water & Sanitation Mission. The company shall also be responsible for operation and maintenance of the project for 10 years after construction. The estimated contract value for the construction phase is estimated to be in excess of Rs25,000million. Construction is already in full swing on this project. Also, as mentioned above, Welspun Enterprises has recently bagged a major project for design, build, construction, operation and maintenance of a 418 mld wastewater treatment plant in Dharavi, Mumbai, for the BMC. This project is to be constructed in five years and thereafter to be operated and maintained for 15 years. The contract value of this project is Rs 46,360million(including operation and maintenance).Currently, the project is in the design and engineering phase and construction is expected to start in early 2023. What are some of the key high-value orders in the roads and infrastructure segment that Welspun is currentlyexecuting? Please let us know about your order book and the breakup in terms of road, water and other projects. Yogen Lal: In the water segment, the key orders are the rural water supply project of UPJJM and the STP in Dharavi.In the roads sector, the key orders we are executing are the Aunta-Simaria and Sattanathapuram-Nagapattinam projects in HAM mode and the Varanasi-Aurangabad project in EPC mode. As on September 30, our order book was Rs 114,180million, of which 54 per cent was in the roads sector, and the balance 46 per cent in the water sector. The Delhi-Meerut Expressway is a prestigious project you have undertaken. Please tell us more. Neeraj Gupta: The Delhi-Meerut Expressway (Package 1) is a project with many firsts. It is India’s first 14-lane expressway and was the first HAM project to achieve financial closure and receive annuity. It is India’s first green expressway, with vertical gardens as well as solar panels along the road generating electricity. There were several challenges related to right of way and shifting of utilities of an operating highway in a heavily urban area. We were able to successfully address these with the help of NHAI and the local authorities. As a result, the project was completed in a record time of 19 months against the stipulated 30 months. The travel time across the stretch of 9 km is now 10 minutes compared to almost 60 minutes earlier. Further, we are proud that the project was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The project has also received the ‘Gold Award’ for the ‘Excellence in Project Management’ category from MoRTH. What is the ratio of BOT vs HAM vs EPC that Welspun is following for the portfolio of its road projects and why? Neeraj Gupta: Our current portfolio in the roads sector (completed and ongoing) consists of seven HAM projects, one EPC and one BOT. We work on an asset-light model and are open to projects across development models as long as they are value-accretive in our assessment. How can the Government improve the process of bidding on projects? Neeraj Gupta: Governments may consider framing the evaluation criteria in bid documents keeping in view the technical complexity and scale of the project. In case of financial bids, a quality-cum-cost-based selection (QCBS) method should be employed to evaluate financial bids. In such a system, the financial bid is ranked based on predetermined weightages for the technical strength of the bidder and the price quoted by the bidder. This will ensure fairer selection of a competent bidder. This system is already in place for low-value contracts and should be extended to all contracts. For PPP projects, where the financial strength of bidders is critical, a bidder’s ability to bid for projects should be governed by the number of projects for which financial closure is pending. This will help address delays in the financial closure process as well as delays during construction owing to the equity constraints of the developer.

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