Establishing Market Presence

Establishing Market Presence

AK Bal
Viraj Projects has a growing portfolio of projects that comprises planning, management and execution of large scale commercial, industrial and infrastructural projects, says A.K Bal, Director, Viraj Projects, in an interview with Maria R.

Please tell us about the company’s progress and achievements over the years.

Established in 2001, Viraj Projects is positioned as a turnkey infrastructural solutions provider and construction partner. With our comprehensive construction solutions, we have been instrumental in timely delivery of services to meet customer requirements.

We have been involved in more than 50 projects in every discipline of construction. Our growing portfolio comprises planning, management and execution of large scale commercial, industrial, and infrastructural projects.

Our experience of 17 long years has made us understand market nuances and accordingly, we have multiple station projects in multiple verticals which cater to all pockets and to all sections of society. Last year, the company executed 9 million sq.ft work order across many projects throughout India. These include both high-end and affordable projects.

Establishing Market Presence
Which business segment is currently the major contributor of revenue?

Currently, the focus is on developing the infrastructure sector. India’s economy is getting bigger. PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that India will become the world’s third largest economy by 2050. Liberalization of government regulations and a deliberate strategy on the part of the Indian government to promote infrastructure spells a big opportunity for E&C companies.

Nearly all the infrastructure sectors present excellent opportunities, with roads and highways, ports and airports, railways and power standing out as the bright spots, with staggering sums of investment planned. Public private partnerships (PPPs) are gaining importance and benefiting from government support – targeted PPP participation is ₹15,000 crores. Companies experienced in structuring these types of deals should be able to use their expertise to good effect in the Indian marketplace.

Operating in India requires a thorough understanding of the local market. Not only are there substantial opportunities now but establishing relationships and a presence in the market can help ensure continuous project potential over the medium- and long-term.

The last few years have been quite difficult for the real-estate sector which was thriving till 2012-13. What were the reasons for the downslide and what growth prospects do you envisage in the near future?

The real estate sector has always been an ideal investment option for the investor across all economic strata. The last few years were a setback for the industry and drastically affected the country’s GDP. The main reason for the sector’s downslide was the slowdown in consumer demand. During 2012-13, property prices were sky high and out of the reach of customers due to unstable economic conditions. A slowdown in the global economy also forced a majority of the buyers to postpone their buying decisions.

Another reason for the slowdown is the lack of consumer trust due to delays in completion of projects. However, with policies like RERA and various other initiatives taken by the government, the sector is set to revive in the coming years.

Establishing Market Presence
How do you see the long-term effect of government reforms like Demonetization, RERA, GST, 100% FDI, low interest rates for the weaker section, etc?

We highly appreciate all the government reforms as they have contributed to the country’s growth and revival of the real estate sector. Demonetization has come up as an effective method to control the black money. With RERA and GST, the sector has become more customer-friendly and process-driven with a clear-cut payment system.

100% FDI has led to development of the manufacturing sector and making the country the best investment destination in the world. The low interest rates provided under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (PMAY) for providing Housing for All by 2022 is a great initiative.

Do you think the government should give tax benefits and relaxation on import duty to developers who bring innovative technologies like precast, prefab or form-work systems to complete projects faster?

Housing for All by 2022 is a great initiative and over 1,65,000 people have benefitted from the CLSS vertical of PMAY (Urban) during 2015-18. But there are some requirements which need to be fulfilled by the government to make the functioning smoother in the real estate and construction sectors. In the budget session of 2018, the government initiated many policies such as 100% FDI, single tax system (GST) and a favourable environment for import.

What are your plans for Roads and Highways, Industrial and Power projects?

The 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development is bringing new challenges to the road sector around the world. Roads cut across many sustainable development issues as they can be an enabler of economic prosperity. Currently, Viraj Projects is looking forward to contributing to projects like Amravati-Chikhli road of 160 kms and the NH-6 project near Nagpur.

Our portfolio has grown over the years to include construction works in the industrial sectors of steel and petrochemicals, among others, which we have successfully completed at various locations across the country - a testimony to the Project Head Office control that ensures everything on location runs smoothly.

Establishing Market Presence

Please name some of your recent completed projects and your ongoing ones.

o For Bhushan Steel in Meramandali, Orissa, we undertook construction of a SMS, wagon tippler of 250 MT/hr capacity, a D.R.I kiln of capacity 500TPD, Sinter Plant, Oxygen Plant of 150 TPD, Switchyard for a power plant and a raw reservoir.

o For Jai Balaji Industries in Banskopa in Durgapur, we did the civil work for a 2x 250 cum blast furnace, 16.5 MVA ferro chrome plant.

o For Jindal Steel & Power in Angul, Orissa, we constructed HTSS and LTSS buildings and a secondary fume tunnel.
  • For Reliance Petrochemicals in Thane-Belapur Road, Navi Mumbai, we completed a RCC structure including a deck slab, chilling unit and cooling tower
  • For KF Bioplants in Manjri, Pune, we constructed a laboratory building
  • For JSW Steel in Pen, Ratnagiri, our work involved construction of a Bar Mill, Finishing Work, Sacle Pit, Work Shop, Furnishing Exit, Water Complex Pump Room, Sand Filter Area, and ECR buildings
  • For John Deere Equipment in Sanaswadi, Pune, we constructed a PV and V Lab and test tracks
  • For Motherson Group in Hinjewadi and Chakan, Pune, we did an RCC and PEB tructure including civil works for various ancillary units
Please tell us about some of your power plant projects.

Our expertise and experience in several sectors helped us venture into the Power sector. Use of state-of-the-art equipment, latest technology and processes ensured seamless completion of a power plant project, and we were able to effectively carry out civil, structural and architectural work. We have also worked in the renewable power sector and constructed lattice and tubular foundations for windmills.

Projects in our portfolio include Hermax Instrumentation Ltd in Bagalkot, Karnataka, where we did the civil, structural and architectural work for a 2 x 25 MW power plant for J.K Cement; and Suzlon Infrastructure Services Ltd with locations in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu, for which we did the construction of over 450 lattice and tubular foundations for windmills and allied works.

How well are you equipped with technology, equipment, skilled workforce and execution know-how to take up mega infra projects?

We have equipment such as Boom placer, Tower crane, Concrete Batching plant, Transit Mixer, Passenger lift etc to undertake our work order. We have a strength of over 400 qualified and experienced engineers to execute projects in a professional manner. In fact, our core strength is our dynamic workforce. As a company, we believe in the foundation of quality, commitment and contemplation to grow continuously. It is our mission to provide the best work in our field irrespective of challenges and problems.

NBM&CW October 2018

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