Rohit Punjabi, Assistant Director (Strategy and Marketing Department), Liugong India, explains to Sudheer Vathiyath the importance of implementing innovative ideas in road construction activities.
What is the realistic scenario today with reference to the completion of 7,300 km roads?
The government’s ambitious target of building 7,300 km of highway this fiscal is not likely to be sustainable this year due to reasons like delays in environment clearance and issues of land acquisition besides the poor performance of contractors. The process of land acquisition needs to be streamlined, the key policies and regulation reforms should be fast-tracked for enhanced implementation, a robust dispute resolution framework must be in place, enhanced monitoring of projects implemented and funding is to be facilitated. These are some of the major action points that government needs to take up on a priority basis.
What is your take on the renewed focus by the government on road projects?
In a move that would expedite the award of road projects on Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) mode, the Finance Ministry has now authorised the Road Transport Ministry to clear EPC projects worth Rs 500 crore. It is the really pinning hope for award of road projects on EPC mode to pick up the momentum. This move would be instrumental in attracting builders who are at present showing no interest in highway project for wants of funds.
What are the product/technology trends seen in construction equipment sector?
With increase in road construction activities, there is a need for innovations in road construction technology like in-field of design, planning, construction, maintenance, and operations and financing of road construction. The ministry along with the accreditation committee of Indian Roads Congress is recommending accredited new materials and techniques for use in construction of road projects, with minimal use of natural resources. Some of the most modern technological options are the use of modified bitumen binders, multi-grade bitumen, and ready-to-use patching mixes for repair of potholes. The use of new technologies will be able to provide better serviceability for longer periods, thereby causing saving in the activities. The new technologies should be given priority in field trials and the performance should be evaluated over a period of time to enable formulation of guidelines and codes of practice for emergency.
How do you view the competition in the construction equipment market?
The construction equipment industry in India is evolving from traditional, low-end equipment with the technologically advanced, high-end ones. At the same time, competition is intensifying with large Indian players competing with multinationals players. In this milieu, the demand for equipment is set to grow rapidly. These trends indicate that sustaining growth and competitiveness in the industry would require the companies to develop the required critical capabilities.
Could you brief us on the products and technology offered by Liugong?
Liugong is committed to achieve the long term market leadership in India. We will continue to explore and develop the products that will meet the Indian market requirements and leverage the regional and global product strategies to allow the synergies with our Indian strategies.
What are your investment plans? Any new products on the anvil?
India has been an extremely crucial market for Liugong and over the years, we have made huge investments in establishing our manufacturing base at strategic location in the country. We have exciting product launches this year which we shall talk about it in due course.