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Interaction | December 2013

Our technology can help save Rs 7,000 cr spent on bitumen

As two key ministries Rural Development and Road Transport and Highways have made it compulsory to spend minimum 10 per cent of project cost on using new technologies and materials, Ajay Ranka, CEO, Zydex Industries, tells RAHUL KAMAT that the acceptance level is increasing in India, especially in rural roads and state highway projects.  

Zydex claims that around 20,000 km of roads will be built by using the company's newly-launched technology. However, the road sector has not seen any project awarding so far. On what basis are you claiming such high figures?
 You must be talking about National Highway (NH) projects, but we are targeting Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) and state highways. About 20,000 km of roads [PMGSY and state highways] will be built by our technology in the next three years. These roads will be moisture-resistant green roads and pothole-free roads, which needs no maintenance for the next 15 years. We have already completed about 500 km of roads with the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and other agencies. In addition, we have already patented our nanotechnology, which reduces water percolation into roads.


Have you worked upon any projects in India?
 As I said before, we have worked with BRO for its road project in the Leh-Ladakh region. Apart from this, we have worked with authorities in Assam, Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. However, we've failed to make inroads in Maharashtra due to some bottlenecks.


How can you be sure that the new technology will bring down the maintenance and operation cost of the road project?
 We are sure that's why we are claiming this. With the use of this technology, the government can save Rs 7,200 crore per annum alone from bitumen only. Basically, bitumen consumption in India is about 4.5 mtpa, which costs Rs 18,000 crore, of which 80 per cent is used to resurface roads. The technology will not only help double the life of roads but also will cut the cost by Rs 7,200 crore per year. At present, the government is spending approx. Rs 21,000 crore annually towards maintenance of rural roads. This entire amount can be saved by the use of our technology.


However, it must have been a tough task to get through the bureaucratic hurdles?
 The Ministry of Rural Development and the Ministries of Road Transport and Highways are pushing for the use of unconventional technology and new materials since scarcity of raw material has hit the industry hard due to ban on mining across the country. This is a good news to cherish. In fact, these two ministries have issued a circular mandating a portion of every project must be built using new technologies and materials that help in improving the road quality.


Similarly, the Rural Development Ministry, which is responsible for construction of rural roads, has mandated that one in every 10 km should be built using new technology. The acceptance level has started picking up in India.


Apart from India, which are the other countries where your technology is in use?
 Our technology is getting wider recognition globally, including Texas, where more than 40 per cent of roads were built using this technology. We have also receiving orders from Canada, US, Germany, Sweden, Nigeria, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Indonesia, Japan and many other countries.

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