New Delhi, 13, February 2020:“We need to bring in technology, industry best practices from different parts of the world, reduce construction costsand improve construction quality to effectively create best in class infrastructure. We need to get rid of practice of working in silos and bring in more transparency to the sectorto make it more economically sustainable,” said Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari, Hon’ble Union Minister for Road, Transport and Highways,at an event organised by ASSOCHAM today here to facilitate consultations on “Enforcement of Contracts for Underground Construction & Tunnelling” among Underground Construction & Tunnelling Stakeholders.
He advocated the need for more competition and towards this highlighted government’s commitment to relax technical and financial qualification. He highlighted the growing number of road accidents due to defective DPRs (Detailed Project Reports) and advocated rules and regulations for punishments for those submitting defective DPRs.
Congratulating ASSOCHAM for organizing the event to look at the difficulties that contractors face in their contracts and to give the government some suggestions to improve their side of work Shri V.K Singh, Minister of State for Road Transport and Highwayssaid,“Importance of tunnels are going to increase as it reduces distance, has better economic benefits and is environment friendly especially in the Himalayan region where environment is fragile.”
He advocated the use of technology and better machinery for faster and better work. He asked industry players and stakeholders to bring in better technology, coordinate and synergise their efforts to find best possible solutions to solve country’s infrastructure problems and save costs.
Shri RK Pandey, Member, NHAI and Shri IK Pandey, Road Wing – DG (RD) & SS, MoRTH while commenting on the ASSOCHAM’s recommendation said that it is a fact that over the surface bidding contract cannot be applied to underground and tunneling, because the situation differs drastically. There is a need for drafting a separate EPC contract document and a separate guidelines for DPR for tunneling. Industry recommendations sited today will enable the ministry to do the needful.
Delivering the Welcome Address, Shri Vineet Agarwal, Sr. Vice President, ASSOCHAM & Managing Director, TCIL said,“India has shown significant improvement in the ease of doing business however there is nosignificant improvement in the enforcement of contracts -an important element in these rankings. India moved to ranking of 163 in 2019 from 172 in 2017. ASSOCHAM has conducted numerous stakeholder consultations over the past 18 months and based on these deliberations a strategy paper has been compiled which highlights tunneling industries’ concerns and recommendations.”
He further added, “The objective of today’s eventis to collectively discuss the concerns of the industry and deliberate on possible solutions that could help in sustainable development of underground tunnels and tunnels in high altitude Himalayan strata in a time bound manner. The presence of such eminent leaders today lends credence to our belief that solution lies in the interplay of public and private stakeholders. I believe that today would prove to be yet another landmark in ASSOCHAM’s valuable role in fostering industry government collaboration for the growth of niche sector of tunneling.”
The key highlight of the event was the interactive session where industry participants came forward with suggestions and interacted with a panel of senior government officials. The session was moderated by Mr Ashutosh Chandwar, Chairman, ASSOCHAM National Council on Underground Construction & Tunnelling and CTO, Peak Infra. The panel comprised of Dr. Sukhbir Singh Sandhu IAS, Chairman, NHAI; Shri. Keshav Kumar Pathak, MD, NHIDCL; Shri. I K Pandey, Road Wing – DG (RD)&SS, MoRT&H; Shri R.K. Pandey Member NHAI; Lt Gen Harpal Singh AVSM, VSM Director General BRO, and Representatives Ministry of Road Transport and Highways among others. Shri Vinod Shukla, Member ASSOCHAM National Council on Tunneling and MD FGS Engineers and Innovators also interacted with industry participants.
Delivering Vote of Thanks,Shri Deepak Sood, Secretary General ASSOCHAM, said, “We are very happy to conduct this event that was attended by100+ reputed National and International Architects, Legal and Infrastructure Consultants, Representatives of leading Infrastructure Companies,Academicians, government officials and many more. I am sure the problems will be taken up by the government in the right earnest for speedy resolution of issues and creation of world class infrastructure.”