By OUR STAFF REPORTER
Dehradun, 22 Mar: The disadvantage of states away from ports will be greatly reduced by new expressways and economic corridors, said Dr Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, Chairman, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) while addressing the gathering as a Chief Guest at the inaugural session of the CII Conference on Infrastructure held today over the virtual platform. The focus of the conference was on Road & Highways and Power Distribution Reforms. Dr Sandhu shared that Rs 1.18 lakh crore had been provided for road sector in the current budget, the highest so far. He shared that Bharatmala is a flagship project to construct 35000 km and out of which awards for 14000 km has already been awarded and more that 60% spending will be on greenfield projects. He highlighted that among the new corridors, Delhi–Dehradun will reduce the travel time from 6 to 2 hours. The corridor would bring an economic change in Uttarakhand and tourist traffic is likely to increase by 4 to 5 times in the following 2 years.
DK Sen, whole-time Director and Senior Executive Vice President (Development Projects), Larsen & Toubro, shared that there is clearly a strong policy commitment towards strengthening the road and highway network, but the sector faces crucial issues which need to be addressed including Proper DPR & Realistic Estimate for Tenders to be done, Mega Projects instead of bifurcating the stretch in small pieces, Quality and Cost Based Selection (QCBS) basis for award of Tenders, gradation of contractors based on value of projects – right contractor for right project, Foreign participation In Consortium Bidding, FIDIC, Interest free advance, timely approval, hybrid contracts among others.
Anshuman Magazine, Chairman & CEO – India, South East Asia, Middle East & Africa, CBRE, highlighted the issue of land acquisition, which remains North India’s single biggest constraint to infrastructure development. Delays in land acquisition lead to cost overruns. Auction-based approach, land-pooling, and town-planning schemes were necessary. Parvesh Minocha, Chairman, Regional Committee on Infrastructure, CII Northern Region and Group Managing Director, Feedback Infra Pvt Ltd, delivered the welcome address.
The session on Development of Roads & Highways Infrastructure was organised to deliberate on what the state governments are doing and what more they can do to leverage the opportunities in the Road & Highway sector. Dovetailing creation of roadside amenities, industrial estates and affordable housing with the Economic Corridors are some of the many possibilities. The session also deliberated on monetizing state assets to meet the large CAPEX requirements on an ongoing basis. The session was moderated by Deep Gupta, Managing Director, Macquarie Infrastructure & Real Assets (MIRA).
Speakers at the session included Dr Hari Kishan Reddy, Neeraj Sanghi, Karthikeyan M, Deepak Malhotra.
A Session on Power Distribution Reforms was organised to deliberate on challenges and way forward for the sector. It was moderated by Sameer Gupta, Past Chairman, CII Northern Region. Speakers at the session included Dr Praveer Sinha, Rakesh Gaur, Neeraj Nanda, Vikram Gandotra and Amit Gupta.
By OUR STAFF REPORTER