In the past few weeks, the country has witnessed the inauguration of two important infrastructure projects - the Atal Tunnel in Himachal and the Kosi Rail Mahasetu in Bihar. Inaugurated on October 3, the 9 km-long Atal Tunnel connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti throughout the year. Earlier, the Spiti Valley would remain cut off for about six months in a year due to heavy snowfall.
Earlier, on September 18, the strategically important Kosi Rail Mahasetu was dedicated to the nation several decades after the original bridge was washed away due to severe flooding and earthquake that left a large part of Bihar devastated in 1934. Despite Independence 13 years later, it took 86 years for the 1.5-km-long bridge to be rebuilt!
Construction of the tunnel and the railway bridge was envisaged in the early 2000s during the tenure of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Both projects serve as a metaphor for the low priority accorded to the creation of critical infrastructure projects in post-Independence India.
At a time when the government is ramping up investment in infrastructure, cutting edge technologies can be effectively utilised to ensure timely completion of infrastructure projects to enhance ease of living and to avoid cost overruns. In the current issue, we look at how technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, the internet of things and blockchain are transforming the sector and why good quality internet connectivity with consistent speeds is required to drive these changes. Speaking exclusively to INFRASTRUCTURE TODAY, Praveen Mysore, Director Infrastructure India, Dassault Systemes, and Sanjay Sudhakaran, Vice President Digital Energy Management Greater India Zone, Schneider Electric, explain what these changes could imply for the infrastructure sector.
The story on coal & mining examines why the country needs a robust minerals and mining sector to fast-track the nation's development. Launching the auction process of 41 coal blocks in June, Prime Minister Modi had said that self-reliance wouldn't be possible without a strong mining and minerals sector.
In the special story, we look at how the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) is contemplating a change to the hybrid annuity model (HAM) to address the issue of repayments to developers. This comes amid speculation of MoRTH linking the interest rate on annuity payments to the country's largest lender, State Bank of India's lending rate, instead of Reserve Bank of India's rate.
The lead story in the POWER TODAY section looks at the rising popularity of rooftop solar facilities even as companies are struggling with imports of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules or panels and higher cost of capital for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) projects.
Neither the COVID-19 pandemic nor the lockdown came in the way of bringing the finest from among the country's architects and builders together. The 15th CONSTRUCTION WORLD Architect
Builder Awards (CWAB) - ONLINE Awards, held on August 28, recognised and awarded over 40 leading members of the fraternity for their contribution.
Similarly, despite the prevailing obstacles and uncertainties, the India Construction Festival (ICF) was also successfully organised on October 15 and 16. An important celebration in the infrastructure space, it comprised four sub-events: India Roads Conference; EQUIPMENT INDIA Awards; CONSTRUCTION WORLD Leadership Summit; and 18th CONSTRUCTION WORLD Annual Awards.