Ashoka Buildcon Gears Up to Grow

Wainganga Bridge in Maharashtra

Satish Parakh
Ashoka Buildcon is very active in construction of roads, highways, bridges and power transmission projects. It is now exploring options to enter into the power generation segment. With sound order book position, it is well geared to grow at rapid pace, said Mr. Satish Parakh, Managing Director, Ashoka Buildcon Limited in an interview with NBM&CW.

Ashoka Buildcon has carved an unparalleled niche in the Roads, Highways, and Bridges segment by completing numerous projects on BoT basis. Kindly retrace the fruitful journey.
Our journey has borne fruits due to the visionary approach of our Chairman Mr. Ashok Katariya and the support of the entire workforce of the company. Mr. Katariya has always challenged the limits and guided the company into unchartered territories. Venturing into BoT projects was itself a dare devil step in 1976. No builder wanted to risk his investment in such projects. Even the fi nancial institutions were not willing to fund BoT based projects.

Therefore, when we took up our fi rst BoT based highway project, the Dhule Bypass, we had to face all sorts of diffi culties. Our determination proved to be stronger than the odds against us and we completed the project in 9 months against an allotted time of 30 months. This set the tone to our road ahead and we kept bagging larger and larger projects. Today, we are one of the largest BoT based developers in the country with a portfolio of 28 BoT projects.

Please mention the notable projects completed by Asoka with respect to the technologies deployed and timely completion.
The list of notable projects is fairly long but the ones that have turned out to be trend changers include:
Ashok-Buildon-Road

  • The 90 mt bridge across Mandve River completed in record time of 38 days against an allotted time of 12 months. We earned a place in the Limca Book of records for the same. It was an unbelievable achievement and it changed the bidding scenario of the entire bridge construction sector in the country.
  • Bhandara to Durg Highway Project on National Highway No.6. – For the first time in National Highway construction, we used pre-fabrication technology for construction of underpasses.
  • The most recent example of our technological strength is the Dhankuni Kharagpur Highway Project in West Bengal. The project involved the completion of an incomplete bridge the construction on which was abandoned by the previous construction company and it remained so for about 10 years. The challenges posed by the bridge included the uncertain nature of the river bed, year round strong currents etc.
Ashoka not only took the challenge to complete this bridge but also bid for building a new bridge parallel to it. The company completed both the bridges in 12 months against the allotted time of 30 months.

Pre-cast and pre-stressed systems are getting good response from the infrastructure sector. How do you find their potentials in the country and the role your company is playing in initiating the usage of such innovative solutions?
Using innovative solutions may result in saving life cycle cost of road construction as compared to using conventional materials. The use of latest equipment would also result in saving construction period. Road construction materials and technology has seen lot of improvements world over. Many new materials, techniques and equipment have been used in other countries successfully but the same needs to be tested under Indian conditions, traffic, rainfall, drainage, soil conditions etc. before being put to use in India.

We have our research wing, the Ashoka Highway Research Centre, which is the only one of its kind in India. This wing is dedicated to incorporate better road building techniques which can improve the durability, cost and the environmental impact. This year we have laid emphasis on rain water conservation and have successfully installed storm water capturing techniques on some of our highways. The impact is under observation.

The government target to build 3,000 km roads in the first six months of this fiscal. Do you think this target is achievable considering country’s economic and project delaying conditions?
The target to build 3,000 km in the first six month of the current fiscal seems highly optimistic since not more than 1500 km building of road in six months of last two years are achieved. Though there has been award of more than 6,000 km in FY 2011-12 but many projects did not take off for want of clearances from NHAI and other government authorities. Not just the country’s economy is the factor for getting the finance from the investors, but also many more things as for example, after the award of the project it affected for policy changes risk, clearances from MoEF, railways land handover to NHAI, approval of design and drawings from the railways, approval from mining authorities and courts if there is stay over it, increase in cost of finances for delay in compliance of above obligations by NHAI, increase in cost of project due to abnormal inflation and shortage of key materials of the Project, reluctance of investors for projects in wildlife forests, non-timely decisions of key issues over change of scope and others by NHAI, delay in land acquisition by NHAI, variance in DPR and actual conditions at site, Foreign exchange and interest rate fluctuation etc.

The Planning Commission has raised objections to a proposal to set up an independent regulator for the roads sector, one of the important reforms put forth by finance minister. Can it be a feasible solution to counter various bottlenecks and smoothen project clearances if it comes into existence? What is your take on this?
During the course of any PPP project for highway sector, there are many uncertainties arising out of factors which are beyond the control of both the Concessionaire and the Government. Highway sector has majorly been affected by government failures and not the market failures. The highway sector is faced with issues like financial stress, enhanced construction risk and contract management issues, Clearances etc. These can be addressed more effectively if an independent authority such as a Road Regulator is appointed.

Ashoka-Buildcon

A Highway Regulator must regulate projects in such a way that the need for renegotiation does not arise if there is a case of any. If the need arises at all, the regulator may ensure that the public interest is firmly protected.

While executing infrastructural projects such as bridges and roads, developers face a lot of hurdles such as land acquisition and arm twisting by the local mafia. What level of support do you expect from the state governments and authorities to get rid of such problems?
To address the issue a tripartite agreement between the Road Developer, NHAI and the State Government is signed to avail the Administrative support from the State in such situations. But it is often observed and experienced that even after the signing of the State Support agreement with the state, the Concessionaire is not backed enough by state administration to control the law and order situations at site during land acquisition and operations at Toll plaza.

A word about group’s involvement in the power sector? Does the company have any diversification plan in other infrastructure sectors such as airport, seaport, hospitality etc?
As part of the company’s nature to explore emerging sectors, we ventured into Power Transmission and Distribution Sector in the year 2010. In the very first year, we bagged 6 major projects. Currently, we are completing 12 power T&D projects. Our real achievement is the fact that we have been completing the awarded projects much ahead of schedule and are earning a fairly good reputation as a trusted contractor in the segment.

Currently, we are focusing on the highway and power projects only, yet we are open to investigate possibilities in other infrastructure sectors as well.

What is your company take on the current infrastructure development being witnessed in the country and how can these be put on faster track as per your company’s assessment? How do you look at the business of your company in the current five years plan period?
We find the future of the infrastructure sector pretty motivating. Our order books are healthy and yet there is a lot of untapped potential in the sector. The only way to put development on a fast track is by simplifying the decision making process on issues like land acquisitions, environmental clearances etc. We as developers find it difficult to cope with the communication gap between central, state and local bodies. Once an effective mechanism is successfully developed, things will be much brighter.

Without quoting any numbers, I am confident that the company will continue to grow at a healthy pace. We have proven our project execution skills and our ability to overvcome challenging projects. Our Financial strength has increased significantly with the investment of Rs.800 crores by SBI – MAQUARIE INFRASTRUCTURE FUND and we are determined to make a significant contribution in the highway infrastructure sector.
NBM&CW September 2013
NBM&CW Celebrates 30 Years of Progress in the Construction Industry

NBM&CW Celebrates 30 Years of Progress in the Construction Industry

This month marks a significant milestone for our publication as we celebrate 30 years of dedicated service to the construction industry. For over three decades we have been relentless advocates for the adoption of technology, equipment

Read more ...

The Future of Indian Infrastructure Construction Landscape

The Future of Indian Infrastructure Construction Landscape

The Indian construction industry is poised for a significant transformation over the next two decades. With a strong focus on infrastructure development, India will invest over 1.40 trillion USD in the next five years on infra

Read more ...

KNR Constructions: Optimizing Project Delivery with Advanced Equipment

KNR Constructions: Optimizing Project Delivery with Advanced Equipment

Mechanization is helping projects become more financially viable. At KNR, we have become self-reliant by deploying our own equipment and new construction methodologies, which is also helping us optimize cost and time during

Read more ...

Volvo CE: Electric Excavators, Wheel Loaders, Haulers & Compactors

Volvo CE: Electric Excavators, Wheel Loaders, Haulers & Compactors

Volvo CE India is a frontrunner in sustainable construction equipment, offering electric excavators, wheel loaders, haulers, and compactors alongside advanced technologies for efficiency and flexible business models to meet evolving customer needs.

Read more ...

Rajpath Infracon: Transformative Technologies Driving Growth Opportunities

Rajpath Infracon: Transformative Technologies Driving Growth Opportunities

Rajpath Infracon recognizes that innovation is the key to building sustainable, efficient, and durable roads for the future. They advocate for the adoption of advanced technologies throughout the entire project lifecycle - from materials and design to construction and maintenance.

Read more ...

AFCONS: Leveraging Technologies Like GFRP, HSFRC, UHPC, Precast & BIM

AFCONS: Leveraging Technologies Like GFRP, HSFRC, UHPC, Precast & BIM

AFCONS Infrastructure is at the forefront of construction innovation, leveraging disruptive technologies like GFRP, HSFRC, UHPC, precast construction, and BIM to address labor shortages, enhance sustainability, and improve project efficiency.

Read more ...

Wirtgen: Cold Milling Machines, Asphalt Pavers & Compaction Equipment

Wirtgen: Cold Milling Machines, Asphalt Pavers & Compaction Equipment

With its innovative and cost-effective road building and rehabilitation machines, the Wirtgen Group has emerged as an undisputed market leader, offering customers tech-rich and value-for-money products.

Read more ...

Godrej Switches to 100% Green Energy; Builds 3D Printed Office from RCA

Godrej Switches to 100% Green Energy; Builds 3D Printed Office from RCA

We have implemented eco-friendly production processes and energy-efficient technologies to minimize our carbon footprint; we also adhere to stringent waste management protocols, and the principles of Circular Economy.

Read more ...

Terex: Cutting-Edge Mobile Crushers & Screens, Washing Systems & Cranes

Terex: Cutting-Edge Mobile Crushers & Screens, Washing Systems & Cranes

Terex India, a leader in materials processing equipment like Powerscreen® mobile crushers and Finlay® screens, is at the forefront of sustainable construction. Their Hosur facility exemplifies operational excellence with a focus on clean energy, environmental responsibility, and digital tools for efficiency across their diverse product range including Terex® Washing Systems, Franna® cranes, and EvoQuip® solutions.

Read more ...

BMC Mumbai: Road Repair with Thin White Topping & Ultra-Thin White Topping

BMC Mumbai: Road Repair with Thin White Topping & Ultra-Thin White Topping

Thin White Topping/Ultra-Thin White Topping overlays are innovative pavement repair and strengthening solutions and are also cost-effective and less maintenance intensive, having demonstrated performance comparable to traditional

Read more ...

ACE: Mobile Crane, Pick & Carry Crane & Backhoe for Next-Gen Construction

ACE: Mobile Crane, Pick & Carry Crane & Backhoe for Next-Gen Construction

Action Construction Equipment (ACE) offers a comprehensive range of construction equipment – mobile cranes, Pick & Carry Cranes, fixed tower cranes, backhoe loaders, and more – while pioneering sustainable solutions and advanced technologies like automation and AI for next-generation construction.

Read more ...

Sanghvi Movers: Leading Crane Rental Industry With End-to-End Solutions

Sanghvi Movers: Leading Crane Rental Industry With End-to-End Solutions

Sanghvi Movers, Asia's largest crane rental company, leverages its extensive fleet of cranes and expertise to address infrastructure growth in India. They offer comprehensive solutions including logistics, erection services, and project management for diverse sectors like wind energy and refineries.

Read more ...

JCB LiveLink & Industry 4.0 for Connected Machines & Smart Manufacturing

JCB LiveLink & Industry 4.0 for Connected Machines & Smart Manufacturing

JCB India leads the way in digital construction with JCB LiveLink for their iconic Backhoe Loaders and other machines, offering real-time data, improved efficiency, and Industry 4.0 adoption for smarter manufacturing.

Read more ...

Adani Group: Driving Construction Innovation with Digital Solutions & AI

Adani Group: Driving Construction Innovation with Digital Solutions & AI

Ambuja Cements and ACC’s focus on Digitalisation and AI-driven strategies are delivering exceptional solutions. By embracing cutting-edge technologies and fostering a culture of innovation, we are offering best-in-class products and

Read more ...

SCHWING Stetter: Batching Plants, Concrete Pumps & Waste Recycling Plants

SCHWING Stetter: Batching Plants, Concrete Pumps & Waste Recycling Plants

SCHWING Stetter India, a leader in concrete equipment, offers a wide range of innovative products – batching plants, concrete pumps, mixers and waste recycling plants – to promote sustainable and efficient construction practices.

Read more ...

Kalpataru Group: Transforming the EPC Industry for a Greener Future

Kalpataru Group: Transforming the EPC Industry for a Greener Future

Kalpataru Group champions sustainable practices in the EPC industry, focusing on renewable energy, green buildings, and innovative technologies for a greener future.

Read more ...

Puzzolana: Leveraging R&D for Advanced Crushing & Screening Equipment

Puzzolana: Leveraging R&D for Advanced Crushing & Screening Equipment

Puzzolana leverages R&D to develop cutting-edge crushing and screening equipment, including high-capacity jaw and cone crushers, for optimized production and reduced costs per ton.

Read more ...

SGES Group: Expert Geotechnical Solutions for Streamlined Construction

SGES Group: Expert Geotechnical Solutions for Streamlined Construction

At SGES, our team brings over 200 years of collective experience in solving complex geotechnical problems; by quickly providing tailored solutions, we assist clients in making timely decisions, thus avoiding time and cost overruns.

Read more ...

Sany: Intelligent Service Platform with Telematics & Electric Dump Truck

Sany: Intelligent Service Platform with Telematics & Electric Dump Truck

Sany India discusses their Intelligent Service Platform with telematics and analytics, commitment to electric vehicles like the SKT105E mining dump truck, and plans for hybrid construction equipment.

Read more ...

To get latest updates on whatsapp, Save +91 93545 87773 and send us a 'Saved' message
Click Here to Subscribe to Our eNewsletter.