Digha elevated project

Raj Kumar, CMD, Rodic Consultants
Rodic Consultants has been appointed as project management consultant (PMC) to design, develop, manage, and implement smart city projects in Patna under the Smart City Mission (SCM). Raj Kumar, CMD, Rodic Consultants, talks about the company’s role in the development of the Patna Smart City and other critical ongoing projects, and its expertise in handling all project-related issues for their successful completion.

At the outset, please accept our heartiest congratulations on being awarded the project management contract of Patna Smart City. What infra developments will be undertaken in this project?
Thank You. Patna Smart City is indeed an iconic project that will generate a multiplier effect in terms of creating employment opportunities, aid decongestion, and lead to planned urban development that will usher in a socio-economic makeover of the region. The two-stage development will take place over 817.35 acres across Patna with a focus on robust and resilient infrastructure, city decongestion, enhancement of economic and financial base, and so on.

Patna Smart City Project is expected to be commissioned by March 2022. The mission aims to revive the 2500-year-old heritage of the vibrant Patna city and usher its planned development through several sub-projects in IT and Digitialisation, Good Governance, Citizen Participation, Smart Mobility, Roads cum Drainage, Research and Education, Area Redevelopment, Decongestion, Outdoor Illumination, Water Rejuvenation, Food, Campaigns and Green Energy.

Smart City Project will include the redevelopment of Adalatganj Lake, Jan Sewa Kendra, construction of a road joining Bir Chand Patel Path and Nehru Road, foot overbridges, redevelopment of Bakarganj Nala, Mithapur Talab, beautification of Gandhi Maidan and its surrounding areas.

What will be the jobs entrusted to Rodic Consultants?
Bagging the project is a remarkable achievement and a testament to our expertise in the infrastructure consulting space. As a part of the project, Rodic Consultants will be entrusted with design development, bid process management, and construction supervision in the pursuit of creating a more liveable and sustainable Patna.

As a responsible organisation, Rodic Consultants is committed to shaping the trajectory of urban development and contributing to India’s growth story through its personalised solutions tailored to client’s requirement.

What are Rodic Consultants’ core areas of expertise, and what innovative solutions will it provide to optimize time and cost benefits for the clients?
Established in 2000, Rodic Consultants Private Limited has emerged as a leader in the infrastructure consulting space with state-of-the-art engineering solutions to cater to client requirements. Our gamut of services includes engineering and design, project management and advisory services. Timely and cost-effective project delivery and commitment to customer service are the key value propositions offered by the company.

Rodic Consultants has a proven track record of timely completion of projects across sectors like highways, bridges, tunnels, railways, metros, hydropower, power & energy, urban & industrial developments, water, environment, multi-modal transport etc. The company has been a preferred partner for reputed organizations such as NHAI, NHIDCL, DFCCL and various state governments.

Please share your tunnelling experience on critical projects such as the Banihal - Quazigund and the Silkyara Bend-Barkot Tunnels in J&K, and the challenges that were overcome.
Rodic Consultants takes immense pride in being associated with infrastructure projects located in some of the most challenging and remote hinterlands of the country. Tunnels are one of the most challenging civil engineering projects encompassing several mandates such as design, execution, and project management under the infrastructure consulting space.

Silkyara Tunnel

The Quazigund Banihal Tunnel and the Silkyara Bend Barkot Tunnel are the finest examples of our expertise in the engineering consulting space. Quazigund Banihal Tunnel is being built at an altitude of 1790m in the earthquake-prone zone. This 8.45 km long twin tube tunnel consists of two parallel tunnels - one for each direction of travel. Each tunnel is 7 m (23 ft) wide and has two lanes of highway. Its terrain, topography, accessibility, climate, geology, and hydrogeology make it one of the most challenging projects under execution in the world.

The 8.5 km highway tunnel passes through phyllite, meta-siltstone and granodiorite with the intrusion of quartz veins. There are several faults and shear zones. On the surface, most of the slopes along the tunnel alignment are covered with overburden.

Several challenges due to hydrogeology have been handled, including face collapse, and large cavity formation of more than 30m deep. Several shear seams and shear zones have been encountered in the tunnel. Another challenge is that foliation (J1) is running almost parallel to the strike of tunnel direction.

Due to the presence of weak phyllite (about 90%), weak to moderately meta-siltstone, several streams and unfavourable joint set, overburden of 15m to 634m, and the overall poor to fair quality rock, the project will be considered a civil engineering marvel once it is finished and commissioned.

In the 4.5-km Silkyara Bend - Barkot tunnel, we have used the advanced NATM technology (for the first time in a tunnelling project) for drilling the most challenging hills/terrains for simplifying the tunnelling process. The New Australian Tunnelling Method (NATM) is widely applied to designing and constructing underground engineering projects. It uses the self-supporting capacity of the rock or soil by mobilising the strength of the surrounding ground. It is today, by far, the most robust tunnelling support system design methodology in earthquake-endangered zones.

Currently, excavation is being carried out from Silkyara and Barkot portal using heading and benching. Heading for 2250 out of 4531m has been done, while benching and lining are in progress.

What advanced methodologies, technologies, and mechanisation would you recommend for such challenging sites?
Construction requires extensive research and technological expertise to meet the challenges in design and execution. Terrains like hill slopes and areas which are prone to earthquakes and other disasters pose constant threats. In such regions, NATM, a modern tunnel design technique, employs sophisticated monitoring to optimise various wall reinforcement techniques based on the type of rock encountered during tunnelling. We also monitor our projects using Drones to provide real-time updates on their development status.

What is your assessment of the causes for delays and bottlenecks in our infra development projects, and what changes or reforms are needed to create a more enabling business environment in the country?
Infrastructure is the backbone of economic development. The government under Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi prioritizes infrastructure development to achieve the dream of New India. The Union Budget 2021-22 envisages infrastructural development as the key to economic revival in the post-pandemic world. Approximately INR 102 trillion has been earmarked for the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) over five years for various infrastructure projects across sectors such as roads, railways, ports, telecom, etc.

However, there is a need for structural reforms in this segment. Easier and cheaper access to capital, faster land acquisition for marquee projects and new business investments, bureaucratic agility, and administrative transparency, will go a long way in paving the way for more rapid economic recovery in the post-pandemic era.

Covid-19 has prompted a reassessment of existing strategies, leading to a strong re-prioritization of resources. A comprehensive infrastructure revival package and improvement in the ease of doing business will be a formidable beginning of the journey to recovery.

How has Rodic’s business grown over the last few years and what new opportunities do you see emerging in the infrastructure construction sector?
Rodic Consultants saw an annual revenue growth of 30% during the last five years. We are focusing on metros, railways, special bridges, tunnels, and virtual project monitoring.

To help our clients shape better long-term strategies and meet future engineering needs, we added a business unit A-TOM (an Advisory for Transaction, Organizational Support & Management). A-TOM has been curated to handhold infrastructure clients/projects in the entire lifecycle of the project, program, or portfolio. With this, Rodic Consultants will have the ultimate business advantage of being the firm in the end-to-end block offering of services, solutions, and sectors - from conceptualizing to commissioning.

Rodic has a healthy order book as on date. Given the government’s impetus on Infrastructure sector, we see tremendous opportunities and stability in all aspects of engineering consulting space, be it project management, engineering design or advisory services.
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