NHIDCL is constructing around 4,000 km in the northeast

NHIDCL is constructing around 4,000 km in the northeast

NHIDCL has been working on various challenging infrastructure projects in the Northeast region of India. Chanchal Kumar, Managing Director,discusses the opportunities and challenges for the construction industry in the region, the corporation’s focus on digitisation, and the spending requir...

NHIDCL has been working on various challenging infrastructure projects in the Northeast region of India. Chanchal Kumar, Managing Director,discusses the opportunities and challenges for the construction industry in the region, the corporation’s focus on digitisation, and the spending required to develop such infrastructure. Tell us about the projects currently being developed by NHIDCL in this region. In the recently concluded financial year, NHIDCL alone has constructed more than 3km per day highway construction.Today, the corporationis working in challenging conditions with the temperature ranging from -25C to +45C, altitude above 12,000ft and annual rainfall going upto 11,500mm.The main working field is in isolated areas such as in Andaman Nicobar (A&N) and near Aniniin Arunachal Pradesh. Despite this, as on today, the corporation is constructing around 4000km at around Rs 78,000 crore in thenortheast.Forty-six road projects of 975km have already been completed worth around Rs 11,300crorein recent years. Highlight the opportunities for the construction industry with NHIDCL projects. NHIDCL is already constructing around 5,000km of highways in India. Around 500 km of new road projects at around Rs 16,500 crore is planned to be taken up by the end of this financial year. The potential and scope of NHIDCL is increasing day-by-day for the development of often neglected northeastarea. For these infrastructure projects,small and local contractors can be engaged by the EPC contractors thereby increasing their capacity. I am sure we will soon see many construction companies originating from the northeast. Need is the mother of inventions, and NHIDCL faces a lot of technical problems in the Himalayan geology. For instance, Tripura has acute shortage of aggregates. The corporation sought to have an alternative solution, which uses lesser aggregates, and chemical based stabilisers. There is a lot of scope in technology development in NHIDCL works. Defence infrastructure projects fall under tough terrains. How has the corporation been overcoming challenges in the past months? Majority of the well-established construction companies do not participate in smaller size projects in far-flung areas because of profitability and economy of scale issues. Other relatively less experienced companies often struggle to work in tough terrain. As such in these areas, the works need extra facilitation by the authority. To facilitateconstruction works, NHIDCL has been providing reliefs to the contractors in overcoming specific issues that they face in the north-eastern region. The corporationhas entered into MoU with IITs and NITs to provide technological solutions so that the pace and cost of road construction is optimised. Also, regular reviews and interaction meetings are being carried out, and the corporation has set up its 13 regional offices headed by executive director and 47 PMUs in states or UTsto effectively monitor and resolve issues. Unplanned obstacles and geological challenges are often encountered in tunnel works. Hence, the corporation has revised its policy to provide relief to such contractors. In view of COVID-19 and the difficult terrain, payment procedures have been modified to give enhanced cashflow to the contractors. How has the corporation been focussing on digitisation? NHIDCL has successfully implemented the use of e-Office, SAP, eDMS, PMIS, BGMS, INFRACON and other platforms to digitise it’s working. Through digitisation, real-time monitoring of construction progress is being done at the headquarter on a daily basis. The corporation is taking help of research institutes in obtaining solutions to the technical problems affecting progress and for introduction of innovative technology in highway construction. Tell us about the spending required to develop such infrastructure. Projected expenditure of NHIDCL in the current financial year is more than Rs 17,500 crore. Major expenditure is met by the fund allocated by MoRTHas the works are being taken up on EPC mode. The corporation is also executing infrastructure works for the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Ports Shipping & Waterways, UT Administration of Ladakh and the Government of Arunachal Pradesh.

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