Need to encourage more innovation, experimentation in the sector
NEW DELHI, : General (Dr) VK Singh (Retd), Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways, Govt of India today said that the Indian road infrastructure and road construction industry, including the equipment and materials, are the biggest ingredient in spurring the economy. He also urged the industry to come up with innovations which the government will support even at the policy level.
Addressing the valedictory session at ‘BITU-CON 2020’, General Singh said that by constructing more roads not only we can ensure improvement in the connectivity but also bring down the travel time and freight cost. “This sector has a lot of potential and is profitable also. Things are improving in the economy although it may take some time for complete recovery. The more we construct the better it is going to be for the economy,” he added.
He also urged the industry to use more innovative solutions to ensure the construction cost is reduced. “We have enough expertise, innovative spirit, know-how to make things better and this sector needs it. Indians have a great ability for innovation, but we are somehow not coming out with it. Innovation and experimentation should be encouraged in the industry to bring down the cost,” said General Singh.
Cost-cutting, he said should be looked in two ways, one on the immediate cost cutting and other on life-time cost cutting. “We should focus on lifetime cost cutting rather than immediate cost cutting. There is a great scope available. It ensures less road maintenance, and wear and tear also come down. What we need is to utilize less thickness of cement by using other methodologies to strengthen the concrete and put a thin layer of bitumen to get better riding quality,” noted General Singh.
He also urged the industry to adopt pre-slab fabs in which quality is maintained and are standardized. General Singh suggested the industry to find out ways to expand the use of bitumen and not just restrict to road construction.
Mr Shailesh Pathak, Co-Chairman, FICCI Transport Infrastructure Committee and CEO, L&T Infrastructure Development Projects Ltd said that the industry will collectively work with the government, academia, and businesses to ensure we meet the target. He said that we want to work with the government in the expansion of greenfield expressway development. He also urged the government’s support in ensuring that bringing newer technologies and reducing cost should not impact profits.
Mr Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI said that we have to work collectively and in partnership to bring down the cost of road construction. He said that we must also focus on using innovation and experimentation to develop products and systems through which India could become a world leader in the sector.