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The Eighth Commandment

The Eighth Commandment

When our November 2010 issue was under construction, the Mining Bill was not exactly the talk of Infrastructure Town, but as we discovered, the divide between the Bill's provisions and industry demands was so sharp that the Bill was in peril of falling into that deep chasm and disappear forever. This month, as the Group of Ministers cleared the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 2010, issues remain. Yet the ratification of the Bill by the Group was important from the view that mining now has one less roadblock to contend with-local populations' protests against iniquity-paving the way for development of raw material for power, infrastructure and manufacturing.

Over the past 12 months, we've promised to ourselves to take an issues-based approach to infrastructure, suggest potential, workable solutions to policymakers, developers, contractors and financiers, and provide a meaningful platform for exchange of ideas, information and solutions is fraught with the challenge of approaching stakeholders, critical and business analysts by exploiting a huge in-house database, and making sense in a holistic way. Between our Seventh Anniversary Issue and the Eighth, we took on that challenge, and received commendable support from all those stakeholders. While we brought up the issues, the industry has been eager to voice its concerns and recommend solutions, independent analysts have provided solid data and analyses to the extant realities, and policymakers have often taken note.

It is a role we would like to continue playing through the year to follow. We believe that it is the responsibility to be the voice that analyses and provides solutions that are unbiased and objective, and above all, credible. There is no doubt that we have a long way to go, but exposure to the who's-who in the industry is a first step to getting there. Just as the path of Indian infrastructure is unknown and policymakers, developers, contractors and financiers cut through the shrubs to create new paths, we would like to partner those sectors.

This issue, as we celebrate our eighth anniversary of existence, we are hoping we have been able to derive that meaning to you. We wanted to delve deeper into the infrastructure landmarks the nation achieved in the last 12 months. (We deliberately stayed away from creating a list, however.) The celebrated Delhi Airport Terminal 3 and the DMRC Airport Express, of course, came to mind immediately for superior project management. There were a few projects such as the Chennai Desalination Project and the Vallarpadam International Container Transhipment Terminal that were noted for breaking traditional approaches to critical problems. In some of the projects, financial closure was an achievement; in some others, beating timelines was, and in others, innovations made the cut.

Not all landmarks were runaway successes, though. We recognised that learning processes are as important as – if not more so – the ones where things went exactly according to plan. For example, the NHAI has been routinely planning contracts with substantial uniformity across the country, mostly irrespective of geography and political conditions – resulting in delays and cost overruns. This issue is also a way of bringing those into focus.

The sections, divided sector- or activity-wise, contain important statistics from our research division, analyses from our experts, guest articles from and interviews with policymakers, industry practitioners and independent thinkers and analysts. Practicable and usable, I hope this issue presents to you material that you will consider reading cover-to-cover and present us with your feedback (feedback@asappmedia.com).

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