TATA PROJECTS: Efficient Engineering, World Class Infrastructure
Given the stage of growth India is in and the goals that have been set by PM Shri Narendra Modi, India definitely needs access to world class infrastructure to surge ahead in attaining the set economic and social objectives. VIVEK SINGHAL – Chief Operating Officer – Urban Infrastructure, Tata Projects
India has an impending need for infrastructure to sustain and nurture its economic growth what are your views on the same?
Infrastructure has a big role to play for sustaining and developing a nation’s economy, and when we say infrastructure we take into account both the rural and the urban infrastructure. To be able to go from point A to point B there is a need for proper roads, there is need for a robust rail network. People stay in distant suburbs they work in cities, manufacturers manufacture goods in their manufacturing units, they need to transport it to the cities; all this calls for robust transportation and logistics facilities which is not possible without the requisite infrastructure in place. We need port to port connectivity, dedicated freight corridors are a necessity too. Likewise when a city grows the density per sq.ft increases, likewise we are faced with issues like traffic bottlenecks, it is then time to put in place new buildings build bridges and augment the infrastructural needs which arise. Given the stage of growth India is in and the goals that have been set by PM Shri Narendra Modi, India definitely needs access to world class infrastructure to surge ahead in attaining the set economic and social objectives.
Land Acquisition is one of the core challenges when it comes to infrastructure projects, what are your views on the same?
Yes it is, however Tata Projects is purely an EPC company. We do not do PPP projects where the risk of land acquisition comes in. The projects that we partake in are awarded to us by developers or the government itself, so the issue of land acquisition is addressed by them. Our task is to maintain, design and construct the project at hand. The other Tata Group companies like Tata Realty or Tata Housing are mandated to invest only in PPP projects, they buy land in parcels build houses and execute road projects and build assets. The money is then collected either through BOT, Annuity or PPP. In Tata Projects we do not run into that risk.
Tata Projects in involved in construction of Metro projects in Lucknow, Delhi and Mumbai what are the inherent challenges you have faced in these projects?
Most of the metro projects we are executing are passing through high density corridors, but the city is not planned according to the corridors, besides some cities are old such factors pose unique challenges. As is with any construction project even in the construction of metro project, blocked lanes, traffic diversion and discomfort to commuters are the regular challenges. But when you have to build an underground channel for the metro in the midst of uneven settlements above the ground it is quite a task. Because if the method being put to use is not sound, if the engineering is not sound, desired results will not be achieved and there is a danger that the foundation of the settlements in question may get weakened. In Lucknow the metro is passing through a heritage area, the project consists of three underground stations and 5kms of tunnel. Immense care has to be taken since these heritage structures are over 100 years old. The Lucknow project is worth 1200 crores and is scheduled to be completed by 2020; likewise we have started working on the metro project in the city of Mumbai. The phase-III of the Mumbai metro project involves design and construction of underground sections including 3 underground stations at Siddhivinayak, Dadar and Shitaldevi Temple and associated bored tunnels. For executing the metro projects in a precise and time bound manner we have collaborations with the best names in the business. For the Lucknow project we have tied up with Gülermak, they have been involved with large scale urban transit projects in Poland, Dubai and Turkey. As a leading turnkey rail systems contractor, Gülermak has constructed more than 70 km of underground tunnels and 40 underground stations in its EPC contracts. For the Mumbai project we have tied up with ITD who have successfully completed the construction of many mass transit projects in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) as well as metro cities (Kolkata, Jaipur and Bengaluru)
A lot of companies including Tata Projects have exhibited keenness in the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link Project; the competition seems to be heating up...
By virtue of our MD, Vinayak Deshpande who had overseen and completed the Worli Bandra Sealink during his tenure at HCC, there is great deal of collective passion for the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link project. Given the scale and scope of the project we are keen and confident of undertaking and executing the project, as it is with the other partners who have bid for the project we have also entered into a JV for this project. We have formed a JV with Daewoo. Daewoo has executed similar projects in Seoul, Middle East and HongKong.
Last Year Tata Projects has joined hands with Brookfield Multiplex to develop social infrastructure across the country, what are the projects executed so far and what’s more on the anvil?
Brookfield Multiplex is one of the world largest assets based and construction companies they expertise in construction of high rise buildings, they have developed a massive amount of skyline in Australia, Dubai, London and many other places. Tata projects has intention to grow in this market, currently not many companies have expertise in this area, even companies like L&T restrict themselves to a certain height when it comes to high rises. The idea is to join hands with Brookfield multiplex utilise their expertise and bid for projects. We are currently executing a project in Gurgaon spread across 2 mn square feet. We are also bidding for projects in Mumbai and Bangalore.