TEMOWA: Voice of the Construction Equipment Industry

J. Vivek Kathipara, MD, BOSON Infra India & General Secretary of TEMOWA
J. Vivek Kathipara, MD, BOSON Infra India & General Secretary of TEMOWA, expresses his solidarity with the Construction and Infra Development industry by aiming to enhance the Association’s reach in representing the community of construction equipment suppliers and creating an environment which is conducive to their business growth and advancement, while facilitating the Tamil Nadu State Government’s infra development plans and implementation.

What is your outlook for infra construction in FY 2020-2021 and how will the ongoing Covid-19 crisis impact contractors, builders, and equipment owners in the short term?
The pandemic threat has had its ramifications across all industries and across almost all sectors as they have all experienced an unprecedented slowdown. The Construction Industry in India was deeply impacted due to the lockdown as the restrictions on movement of man and material brought the Construction and Infrastructure projects to a halt and shutting down the operations of the Earthmoving and Construction equipment. The slow progress of projects that ensued can be attributed to the acute shortage of labourers at the worksites and the restrictions in transportation of materials and workers.

TEMOWA, on the strength of its inventiveness and determination, stood together with its member companies and voiced the concerns of the HEMM owners to the State Governance and the officials concerned.

Now, with the lockdown restrictions being lifted, Infra projects are picking up at a brisk pace, and we are seeing an increase in demand for Construction and HEMM equipment. Both the Central and State Governments are continuing their focus on infra development projects, and there is renewed confidence in the construction industry.

The construction companies/contractors must, however, assure their workers of their safety and protection against the pandemic threat so that they will return to their workplaces with confidence. This will help the stalled projects to resume work at a faster pace and thus compensate for the slowdown during the past months. With the support of the State Government, we expect the Real Estate companies and builders to kickstart their projects with full vigor, which will lead to a fast revival of the Construction Equipment Industry.

Most of the equipment is financed through banks/NBFCs, but the pandemic has created a liquidity crisis, due to which, equipment owners are facing liquidity shortage, unavailability of loans for buying new equipment, supply chain disruption leading to unavailability of spare parts and timely servicing of their equipment. As a premium Association of Equipment Owners, how are you looking at these aspects and are you seeking government support to ensure that the businesses of your members stay afloat?
While RBI had come forward with its recommendation for Banks and NBFCs to offer a moratorium for the lockdown period, we at TEMOWA and the general public would have preferred a clear instruction from RBI (rather than guidelines and recommendations), to refrain the Banks and the NBFCs from employing force or intimidating equipment buyers for payment of their EMIs during the lockdown when construction activities were completely shut down.

TEMOWA: Voice of the Construction Equipment Industry

Equipment owners in our state were pressurized by the funding organizations for repayment of EMIs, in spite of the State Government’s suggestions. There was also an instance brought to our notice, where the equipment of one of our members was confiscated for non-payment of EMIs during the lockdown. TEMOWA sought the support of the State Government in the matter and with the intervention, succeeded in having the seized equipment returned to the owner.

However, we need to appreciate the positive initiatives of certain Banks and NBFCs that had come forward in support of their clientele considering their track record and offered a moratorium on their existing loans. Some banks and private funding institutions have also supported their customers with loans for their business with flexible repayment options and lesser interest rates, which was very encouraging.
J. Vivek Kathipara, MD, BOSON Infra India & General Secretary of TEMOWA
TEMOWA acts as a spokesperson for the State Government by creating awareness of its initiatives to the Construction Industry and the benefits, while standing firm as a representative of the Industry by voicing its grievances and concerns to the State Government

Many projects have either stalled or some work is going on, due to which, many equipment is laying idle at project sites. However, a few projects are working at full strength and looking to deploy more equipment, but due to the liquidity crisis and limited financing options, they are not able to buy the equipment. In such a scenario, is TEMOWA looking for some out-of-the-box solutions to help both the parties, that is, the ones whose equipment is lying idle and the ones who need new equipment?
We need to appreciate the initiatives of the Central and State Governments for taking measures to sustain the economy during the pandemic. Post the nation-wide lockdown, we noted that work at the projects did not stop completely; rather, the work continued to progress, though at a slower pace. Now, work in the projects is in full swing and the State Government of Tamil Nadu is continuing with the development of infrastructure projects.

We are seeing an increase in demand for construction equipment, machinery, and parts; in fact, demand seems to be at its peak lately owing to the thrust on completing the delayed projects and restarting work on projects that had stalled.

The Tamil Nadu State Government has been actively providing a conducive environment for investments in industries in various sectors, which is igniting the much-needed positive vibe in the construction industry.

What are the objectives and goals of TEMOWA? How many members are there currently and what benefits do they get from being a part of the Association?
The Tamil Nadu Earthmoving Equipment Owners Welfare Association (TEMOWA) was established in 2002 to work for the support and development of Construction Equipment and HEMM owners in the state of Tamil Nadu. These include owners of Construction and Earth Moving equipment such as Hydraulic Excavators, Wheel Loaders, Backhoe Loaders, Motor Graders, Vibrating Compacters, Tippers, Forklift Trucks, Dozers, Batching Plants, etc.

In fact, since its inception, TEMOWA has been the focal point and platform for the equipment owners to network, communicate and support each other on various issues that impact their business. As a premier Association, its objective is to promote and safeguard the interests and rights of the equipment owners who are our members.

TEMOWA: Voice of the Construction Equipment Industry

Today, the Association has grown in strength and credibility as a reliable entity, with over 5000 members operating across many districts of Tamil Nadu. The Association has been at the forefront of policy implementations and changes. By giving a common platform to its members to voice their grievances, TEMOWA has been paving the path for their better business prospect and advancement.

What are the issues and challenges faced by the owners of Construction & Earth Moving equipment? Please give some instances where a favorable solution(s) was found by TEMOWA.

TEMOWA has effectively advocated on behalf of the fraternity and succeeded in gaining the TN State Transport Department’s consent for grant of complete exclusion from payment of late fee charges on Road Tax payments imposed on the equipment owners for the months of the lockdown period.

TEMOWA recently came forward in support of the equipment owners who were facing pressure from private funding institutions for EMI payments for their equipment loans, and who were employing force in seizing their vehicles, in spite of the RBI Recommendation of Loan Moratorium owing to the pandemic lockdown.

TEMOWA recently met the Hon. Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Shri. O. Paneerselvam to seek his direct intervention in safeguarding the business interests of the equipment owners and to support them in their resurgence. The State Government graciously responded to the grief expressed and did the needful by instructing a private funding organization to return the confiscated equipment to the owner for non-payment of his loan EMI during the lockdown months.
J. Vivek Kathipara, MD, BOSON Infra India & General Secretary of TEMOWA
TEMOWA’s aim is to build and sustain a strong relationship among all the stakeholders in the construction industry and work towards ensuring their business growth by striving to revive the Construction Industry in the state of Tamil Nadu with the support of the State Government

How effective has a national body like TEMOWA been for the Construction Industry, and as General Secretary of the Association, what are your long-term plans to take forward its objectives and goals?

The proactive approach of the Association has been commended over the years, which can be attributed to the efforts of former President – (Late) Shri Kathipara Janarthanan, who was a veteran politician and a pioneer in the Construction Equipment Business Sector. He was far ahead of his times in foreseeing opportunities, and he overcame many challenges, which earned him the respect from the corporate sector and the public. In fact, his ambitions always encompassed the needs of the society and his endeavor was to serve the people in the best way possible.

As his son and successor, I am actively involved in the performance of TEMOWA, and in building a strong relation and trust among the members. As a professional in the field of construction, I would like to earn the same amount of credibility as that of my father by following his principles in leading the Association.

I express my solidarity in enhancing the Association’s reach in representing the community and working firmly towards creating a beneficial environment for the Growth and Development of the Construction equipment suppliers segment, facilitating the State’s Infrastructure Development process.

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