Egis India: Focused on Sustainable Infra Development

Sandeep Gulati, Managing Director, Egis India
Sandeep Gulati, Managing Director, Egis India, shares insights on the successful deployment of the company’s technical expertise in the completion of the prestigious Purvanchal Expressway project, the bottlenecks that hamper a project’s progress, and the way forward for building a sustainable India.

At the outset, please accept our heartiest congratulations on the successful completion of the 341-km Purvanchal Expressway project where Egis is the Consultant and Authority’s Engineer for supervision of Package I to Package IV (164.57 km). Please share the unique features of the project.
Thanks for the kind words. Egis India is not only engaged with the Purvanchal Expressway project but also with Bundelkhand and EP1 for holistic development of UP. Also, happy to share that out of the key 5 expressways in UP, we are engaged in three.

Key features of the Purvanchal Expressway include:
  • 6-lane expressway expandable to 8 lanes with a width of 38m, passing through Lucknow, Barabanki, and Amethi.
  • Total length is 341 km.
  • From a structure perspective, there are total 11 interchanges, 7 ROB’s, 7 major bridges, 114 minor bridges, 271 underpasses, and 518 box culverts.
  • A 4.7 km airstrip is also provided for emergency landing and take-off for IAF fighter planes.
Of the total 8 packages, Egis in India is associated with 4 packages. The 30-month construction was completed before time. We are very happy to be associated with such a prestigious project which involved lots of design work. A design unit was set up at the site office to resolve design issues immediately on the site itself.

How is the Expressway going to be a game-changer for the economic development of eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh and the country as a whole?
The infrastructure project termed ‘carrier of development’ to the underdeveloped Purvanchal region cost an estimated Rs 22,500 crore. It will allow commuters to drive from Delhi to the far-east corner of Uttar Pradesh bordering Bihar in around 10 hours. Eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh, especially the districts of Lucknow, Barabanki, Amethi, Ayodhya, Sultanpur, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Mau, and Ghazipur will get economic and social benefits of the new Expressway as it will significantly reduce travel time. For example, the travel time from Lucknow to Ghazipur will be reduced from 12 hours to just 6 hours. Other benefits will include the following:
  • The Expressway will provide additional connectivity to state capital Lucknow. It will be beneficial to farmers too, who will be able to bring their produce directly to the state capital.
  • Land banks along the Expressway have been developed and the Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority has been authorized to develop industrial hubs along the highway.
  • In addition to public utilities like toilets and petrol pumps, the government is also planning to install CNG pumps and charging stations for EV’s.
  • The Expressway will have a three-km long runway at Kudebhar in Sultanpur district. This runway has been proposed for landing and take-off of fighter jets of the Indian Air Force during an emergency.
We take a ‘glocal’ approach by combining international expertise with a selective local presence

What were the challenges during the development process? Was there any cost overrun due to unexpected conditions?
We have not faced any major challenges apart from the generic ones. Besides the Covid pandemic, we had to deal with the usual challenges like the exceptionally high embankment, connectivity to Expressway from a few crossing roads, etc.

There were no cost overruns since the project was completed well before time

What advanced mechanization and technologies were used to complete the project safely and smoothly?
As an international engineering consulting firm, we always use the best technologies, which are best suited for the project. For example, fly ash was used with the latest and improved techniques in embankments and all ROB’s were bow string type, large span structures

Egis India has executed a number of projects in the country. What is your assessment of the reasons that usually create bottlenecks in projects?
Reasons can be many, and each project may have its unique reasons. The potential causes of bottlenecks in the timely completion of projects would include the following:
  • Small players in the market with low expertise but driving significant price wars with large global and more experienced firms.
  • Infrastructure projects are highly capital intensive and funding is considered a major impediment in achieving infra development goals.
  • Land acquisition issues.
  • Clearances from numerous agencies.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
  • Poor pre-construction planning.
What changes do you think would create a more enabling business environment in the country?
Building a sustainable India - dealing with climate change in the context of urban concentration and ever-growing mobility needs. Given the Group’s range of competences, two major priority areas have emerged: future transportation and mobility, and sustainable city construction. In our view, the following changes would be desired:
  • Building and using the cities of tomorrow must be ecologically friendly and efficient. Preserving natural resources and reducing energy needs by optimizing local renewable sources. Further thought must be given to finding the right balance of urbanity and rurality so as to reduce our overall carbon footprint.
  • Future transportation must respect the environment and be energy efficient. Modes of transportation will be increasingly complex and interconnected. Suitability to user needs, reliability, and safety at each stage of construction and operation are critical requirements.
  • Our projects will become more and more connected, interacting with users who have increasingly flexible and collaborative habits, modes of transportation, work, and consumption behaviors.
  • Quality of city life will improve and be properly tailored to dense urban concentration and exploding mobility.
To capitalize on our identity and expertise, to rise to the challenges and effectively concentrate our efforts, we, at Egis India, resolve to refocus our strategy on the two main priority areas: future transportation and mobility; sustainable city construction.

How is Egis India promoting and encouraging innovative solutions to optimize time and cost benefits for its clients?
We are taking a proactive stance on innovation to meet tomorrow’s challenges. We are incorporating sustainability and ethics within projects and towards our stakeholders and are developing the skills of our employees. What differentiates us in the marketplace is our unique global offering that combines consulting, engineering, operations, and mobility services, along with strong technical capabilities and capacity for innovation.

We take a ‘glocal’ approach by combining international expertise with a selective local presence. We can mobilize large teams within a short space of time. We are a specialist in BIM (Building Information Modelling). The digital wave is revolutionizing our businesses and our products, and the first step in this revolution is BIM, which is becoming more widespread.
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