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Interaction | December 2013

Efficient planning and clearance is must for infrastructure projects

Infrastructure projects in India have been facing a lot of delays due to government hurdles, lack of skilled manpower, and several other issues. However, GS Singh, President (BU-1 Execution & Co-ordination), Pratibha Group of Companies in a conversation with ELIZA WAGHMARE, feels that with single window clearance and proper planning, large number of infrastructure projects will be cleared efficiently.  

How do you assess the current scenario of urban infrastructure in India? Do you think that there is enough support from the government with regards to this sector and what are your expectations from the government?
 The current market scenario is better as compared to what it was 2-3 years back. Earlier, there was a huge sluggishness in the market, due to which most of the infrastructure companies slowed down drastically. Also, the government wasn't supportive towards clearing the projects and other funding process.


With the Navi Mumbai airport getting green signal from the Cabinet, has certainly bought some cheers to the infrastructure companies. Also, due to upcoming Elections in various states, we expect many projects, which are stalled, could see light of the day, amonst them is the Mumbai metro phase I project. It is expected that the project will be up and running fron the current month. This boost from the government will certainly trigger infrastructure development in the country. In today's scenario, many NHAI projects are lagging behind schedule, which were announced a year ago. We are witnessing this scenario due to lackluster planning for infrastructure project. And therefore, efficient planning and clearance is required for timely completion of a project.


Once the project has come up, certain clearances and approvals has to be given by the government, and then the process of approvals should be fast tracked. There should not be multi-window clearance and a single window should be encouraged.


With most of the Indian developers staying away from bidding for road projects, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways plans to conduct roadshows abroad to attract foreign firms to take up projects. What is your view on this?
 Indian players are more keen towards entering tunneling projects, as they think this sector as a huge potential market. As far as road projects are concerned, funding is one of the major issues, and therefore the government plans to involve foreign players. In fact, nowadays, the Indian government plans to opt for build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) concept and huge funding is required for that. So, I think foreign players venturing into Indian soil shall not pose any challenge for any of the existing Indian players.


In some cases, even private players back out of the project, which results in project getting stalled. How was the company's experience tackling such situation?
 We were working with state-owned Godavari Marathwada Irrigation Development Corporation (GMIDC) for an irrigation project located near Solapur, Maharashtra. Moreover, the project required special quality pipes and other equipment, which were supplied by our company. However, from the past two years, the project is in limbo due to non-availability of land and more importantly, funds. We didn't even receive payment for the products that we had supplied.


Take us through the current order book position of the company, especially in the water segment?
 Currently, we are working on various water supply and water management projects. The project from the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation is for a water line connections to the distribution line. For this project, we are connecting DI water pipelines of 360 km and PVC pipelines to the houses. The main trunk is the MS pipeline which is around 17 km.


At Pratibha Group of Companies, we have different verticals. Under Unit 1, we have environment and water supply projects, while Unit 2 works on the residential and commercial building projects. Unit 3 undertakes works on tunneling and intersecting projects, which consider as a specialised projects. We are at completion stage for four of our major projects of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM). Recently, we have bagged nine major projects from the Public Health and Engineering Department of Rajasthan. Besides, we are also executing a drinking water project with Gujarat Water Infrastructure Ltd. In the distribution segment, we are working on a project in Meerut.


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