General (Dr.) VK Singh (Retd), Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways on Friday said that the Indian road infrastructure and road construction industry, including the equipment and materials, was the biggest ingredient in spurring the economy. He also urged the industry to come up with innovations that the government would support at the policy level.
Addressing an event in New Delhi on Friday General Singh said that an increase in road construction not only ensured improvement in connectivity but also brought 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 and the 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 costs,” said General Singh.
He suggested that cost-cutting could be done in two ways, one on an immediate and the other on a life-time basis. “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 utilise 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 is standardised. General Singh suggested the industry to find out ways to expand the use of bitumen and not just restrict the material to road construction.
Shailesh Pathak, Co-Chairman, FICCI Transport Infrastructure Committee and CEO, L&T Infrastructure Development Projects Ltd said that the industry would collectively work with the government, academia, and businesses to ensure to meet the targets. He said that the industry wanted 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 costs should not impact profits.