Need for a Single Window Clearance for Road Projects and Simplification of Import Regime

"There is a need for a single window clearance to enable NHAI secure various facilities. Procedure for duty free import equipment related to road sector be further simplified and made available to contractors at a short notice. Construction equipment and machinery from China is proving their utility in the road sector in India," says Mr Rakesh Raina of PVS Impex in an interview with S. A. Faridi of NBM&CW.

How do you look at the present market scenario of Indian Construction Equipment Industry and its future growth in view of current focus on Infrastructure Development?
Government is upbeat about development of roads in India and has been taking various initiatives for speeding up the work. The volume of work is so huge that it will throw lot of demand for road construction machinery in India. The indigenous manufacturing industry needs to gear up for offering latest state-of-the-art technology machines to meet up with this demand in coming times. This will also create enough demand for imported machinery. The contractors now need to have more choice for selection of the equipment meeting their requirements. The work required is huge and the Indian road Industry will grow at 15–20% per annum for at least next 10 years.

Are government policies conducive for implementing the road construction projects and also import of Construction Equipment in India, What enabling provisions are needed?
Well, Government certainly is trying to give it a push, knowing fully well the quantum of work involved. The road packages being offered are becoming bigger; Government is also laying special emphasis on development of roads through private sector participation. Having said that I feel Government still needs to create a single window clearance to enable NHAI secure land, arrange for utility removal and forest clearance in a time bound schedule and before awarding contract to bidders. We still find various projects get delayed on account of these issues causing time and cost over runs. The NHAI should be authorized to settle with respective state governments in a time bound schedule and without any political and bureaucratic interference.

We appreciate the Government initiative in allowing contractors duty free import of some specialized road construction equipment. The procedure for duty free import of equipment related to road construction should be further simplified and made available to contractors at a short notice. This will allow contractors to have wider choice in mobilizing their equipment requirement well in time. Government should also continue to extend its duty exemption to enable contractors/sub-contractors to have wider and better choice for executing the road projects without time and cost over runs.

Tell us about your Company and the product range of the Huatong-China offering to Indian Market?
Well, PVS is involved in infrastructure related projects and we represent top international companies in Power, Steel and Road infrastructure sectors. In road sector we represent Huatong, which is one of the biggest exporters of Road Construction equipment in China. Our principles have now exported their products to more than 25 countries including India. Our principals are also excited at the potential being offered by Indian market though would like to see fast decision-making. We are presently focusing on Asphalt pavers, Batch type hot mix plants, concrete batch plants and Milling machines for Indian market.

How do you see the potential of the Indian market in context of your business?
Well, we have been representing Huatong for the last two years in India and have our own success story. The myth about Chinese technology being not at par with European manufacturers is getting rectified with many Chinese companies now focusing on Indian market and proving the products and services. The contractors who have used these equipment can see the value for money proposition. There are so many manufacturers of construction equipment in China and yet, we need to select the right ones which are capable of providing reasonably reliable equipment and services. We surely feel Huatong Brand will go a long way in providing this Value For Money proposition to Indian contractors community.

What is the most important technical USP of your product range?
The equipment which we are offering are based on technology transfer from reputed international brands like Niigata, ARAN and further incorporating the in-house technology upgradation over a period of time. The equipment which we are offering in India are equipped with most of the critical components like engine, hydraulics, sensors, mixers, burners etc. sourced from renowned international manufacturers and already being used in India. Besides the reasonably good quality, our equipment are price competitive.

How would PVS Impex go about tackling a fiercely competitive construction equipment market?
PVS role in marketing Huatong range in India starts with selection of equipment models that are compatible with NHAI/ MOST specifications and meet the contractors’ requirement. We are also guiding our principals about the aftersales requirements in Indian perspective. Chinese are fast learners and let there be no mistake about their capability. Since the infrastructure development in China started a decade before than us, their industry got an opportunity to adapt to new technology and develop their machines accordingly. Huatong surely can make a value proposition in this endeavor by supplying its well-proven technology equipment to its Indian customers.

What after sales service system are placed in your company to ensure prompt deliveries and efficient services to your clients?
PVS has its service engg based in India. PVS has plans to augment the service set up with more and more number of machines coming in. Our Principals keep on deputing their service specialists to India on regular basis and so far none of our customers have any complaints.

I will also like to mention that there is complacency in Indian contracting community in regard to operation and maintenance of the specialized equipment. It is high time that contractors must develop their own infrastructure to run these equipment efficiently rather then totally relying on manufactures. The growing demand of equipment will result in manufacturers focusing more on their manufacturing efficiency and developing marketing channels for their products. The aftersales service will be outsourced with time and may become uneconomical for contractors.
NBMCW March 2006
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