The Road To Development

 

Awanish Kumar Awasthi
Chief Executive Officer
Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority and Additional Chief Secretary, UP

Awanish Kumar Awasthi (Additional Chief Secretary, UP), CEO, Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority, shares his views with Civil Engineering and Construction Review, on the dream projects of the Uttar Pradesh Government , and the Uttar Pradesh Defence Industrial Corridor.

Civil Engineering and Construction Review: UPEIDA has constructed the longest Access Controlled Expressway in  India till date. What are the critical factors for success in the construction industry in India?

Awanish Kumar Awasthi: UP Expressways Industrial development Authority (UPEIDA) has constructed 302 km long 6-lane (Expandable to 8-lane) Agra-Lucknow Access Controlled (Greenfield) Expressway in a short duration of 24 months. This expressway has 13 major bridges, including 750 m long bridge over river Ganga, 550 m long bridge over river Yamuna, and bridges over other rivers, canals, etc. There are almost 230 underpasses at cross road location, 4 rail over bridges, 17 interchanges for entry/exit to the expressway. For convenience of public, there are 4 large wayside amenities area built along the expressway. Almost 7.0 Crores cu.m. earthwork, 2.0 Crores cu.m. of construction material, 5 lakh MT of cement, 1.2 lakh MT of steel and 1.65 lakh MT of bitumen was consumed in the construction of expressway, besides engaging a large contingent of engineering staff, non- technical staff as well as skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled staff.

The major factor for success in construction of expressway was proper planning of different construction activities and its monitoring on a day to day basis by UPEIDA. The contractors deployed requisite men and machinery in consonance with the targets that were set for different activities for each day. The authority facilitated the contractors by taking up issues that threatened to impede the progress of work with concerning Government departments. The Authority ensured timely payment to the contractors to ensure that the contractors’ cash flow was not strained and the progress of work continued. The contractor on their part put in all their effort in timely procurement of material and other resources that were critical to the progress of the project. Approx. 20,000 non-technical, skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled staff kept working day and night for successful completion of the project.

CE&CR: India is a country which, makes huge jumps when it comes to adapting new technologies. Considering that, tell us about the latest technology and software adopted by UPEIDA, if any.

Awanish Kumar Awasthi: UPEIDA has adopted latest technology/machinery in construction of expressways so as to build world class expressways in short period of time. In addition to it, UPEIDA has also developed mobile application to ensure safe and smooth journey for users of now completed Agra-Lucknow Expressway and for monitoring progress of on-going expressway projects. Some of the technologies adopted by UPEIDA are briefly outlined as under:-

a) Development of Mobile Application

i.  Mobile Application namely “Expressway Mitra” is soon to be launched by UPEIDA to facilitate the users Agra-Lucknow Expressway for their happy and safe journey. The main features of “Expressway Mitra” are:

  1. Emergency Call feature
  2. The map of expressway for planning of journey
  3. Location of nearby facilities
  4. Information dissemination about accidents, etc.
  5. Toll Information and over speed alert

ii.  Mobile Application to provide real time progress of Expressway Projects including ongoing Purvanchal Expressway and upcoming Bundelkhand Expressway, Gorakhpur Link Expressway and Defence Industrial Corridor. This application is helpful in monitoring progress of the project and directing the developer of the project where the progress is behind schedule.

b) Advanced Traffic Management System

UPEIDA has installed Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) for smooth and safe operation of traffic on Agra-Lucknow Expressway. The real time data about traffic on Expressway is obtained by the means of several outdoor and indoor equipment which are used for effective management of traffic under ATMS. The system includes outdoor equipment including 76 emergency call boxes, 10 ANPR based speed enforcement, 50 PTZ CCTV cameras, and 34 Automatic Traffic Counter-Cum Classifiers. In addition to the above-mentioned outdoor equipment, control centres have been established at three different places on the expressway, where in large display board, network management system, central computer system, CCTV monitor system, and call centre system have been installed. The system is designed to meet the following objectives:

  1. Smooth and uninterrupted traffic flow
  2. Enhanced road safety
  3. Real time information and guidance to users
  4. Emergency assistance round the clock
  5. Alerts for abnormal road and weather conditions
  6. Reduced journey time and convenience

c)  Real Time Kinematic GPS Survey for mapping all features on ground

d)  Highway design software are being used to create digital elevation model

e)  Use of VG-40 bitumen in bituminous paving work is being used in view of high traffic volume, temperature of pavement

f)  IRC Codes, standards and specification with latest circulars are being followed

CE&CR: Road infrastructure has become financially unviable; private investors and construction companies are withdrawing from green-field projects. How does UPEIDA plan to handle this situation?

Awanish Kumar Awasthi: Available funding for infrastructure from traditional budgetary sources falls far short of the investment needs, and the Greenfield expressway projects, which have huge initial costs (construction cost + land cost) are no exception to this.

The internal rate of return of Greenfield expressway projects are in the sub 5% range, thus UPEIDA has considered EPC mode as the preferred mode of implementation. Therefore, the construction cost of Greenfield expressways of UPEIDA is largely from government budgetary sources and project executed on EPC mode rather than PPP mode (BOT, Annuity, HAM models).

 

Projects on EPC mode gets good response (competition) from construction companies to bid for construction, which has been UPEIDA’s experience so far.

UPEIDA is looking at three categories of funds for financing its expressway project: (i) equity (budget), (ii) senior debt (loans & infra. bonds) and (iii) subordinated debt (Commercial Lending, Masala Bonds, Mezzanine Credit, and Leasing & Other).

UPEIDA has been borrowing from banks, and pool of banks to meets its current financing needs for land acquisition costs and construction costs. Revenue from existing tolls from expressways has been escrowed to banks debt repayments accounts.

Going forward, UPEIDA intends to raise funds at much lower interest rates from international financial institutions and masala bonds – international debt markets, toll operate transfer (TOT), infrastructure debt funds; and the budgets of different levels for O&M as sources of funds.

UPEIDA is in the process of appointment of financial consultant to work out the cost recovery framework from expressways including Value Capture Financing & Land monetization through development of industrial townships and defence corridor along the expressways that will give a boost to cash flows of UPEIDA upon realisation of the projects.

CE&CR: Centre of Excellence has been formed in collaboration with IIT Kanpur and IIT BHU, and an order has been given to provide specific technical education to diploma/ITI students for skilled manpower in U.P. Defence Corridor Industries. How do you think these initiatives will improve the scenario of education in India?

Awanish Kumar Awasthi: The question overlaps two domains - one is tangible and the other is philosophical. Let me explain this. On the philosophical part, it is believed that education broadens the perspective and comprehensive abilities of both the student and teacher. The effect of our work with the two IITs in these aspects can only be judged after many years, when the person benefitted by the system will interact with the larger sections of the society. In our country, by and large purpose of the education is to earn a livelihood. It has become so (in)famous that many talk about the un-employability of our graduates. Perhaps, through question you also want to cover this aspect. The short answer to your question is that the initiative will make students graduating from IITs and Polytechnics around Defence Corridor immensely more employable. Let me take the opportunity to inform all the stakeholders through your magazine what UPEIDA expects from the two IITs.

Actually, centres are perceived to be the technology facilitation centres for the industries, particularly the MSMEs. In the two IITs, we will support state-of-the-art prototype development facilities. The idea behind this is that the members of the MSME sector, desirous of getting into Defence supply-chain, should be able to fabricate prototype solutions for the articulated problems of the army and other services at very little or no cost. Faculty at the two centres is expected to provide guidance in design, fabrication, and test and certification process. They may also help the entrepreneurs to optimize cost of the plant and machinery in their prospective facilities. The biggest challenge is getting right minded faculty for the centers, which will get down to solving real life problems for national defence. The faculty of our important institutions have a reputation of doing glamorous publication oriented research, aimed to pitch for post-doctoral assignments abroad.

The two IITs will also evolve course content and impart training through suitable short courses for the teachers of ITIs and Polytechnics. To make the courses relevant, UPEIDA will support faculty’s visit to our modern Ordnance factories, manufacturing facilities catering to the space, nuclear power and modern manufacturers like Maruti Udyog, to assess the skillsets and knowledge packs that will be required by the industries likely to come up in our corridor. Hence, partnership of the two IIT’s will surely enhance the employability of the students graduating from IITs and Polytechnics in the vicinity of our corridor.

 In addition, IIT BHU has even agreed to offer specialized electives for the Graduate and Post-graduate students, ambitious of joining the strategic sector.

CE&CR: Could you give us an update on the Defence Industrial Corridor?

Awanish Kumar Awasthi: When fully evolved, the Defence Corridor (DC) will be segments of world-class networked expressways, having clusters of thriving industrial activity along it. Six nodes - Jhansi, Chitrakoot, Aligarh, Agra, Lucknow and Kanpur will be made more attractive for industries largely belonging to defence and strategic sectors. The primary role of UPEIDA is to develop and provide key infrastructure, for example, land, electricity, water, security, etc. and sensitize the prospective industry about the opportunity. We are expediting at a pace not seen by the UP administration before. In compliance to the vision of our political leadership, out of the above six, Bundelkhand region has been accorded highest priority and thanks to the DM and other revenue officials of the region 785 Ha. Out of targeted, 3,025 Ha is available for immediate appropriation to the industry.

Apart from above tangible facts, the Defence Corridor is a bundle of challenges for me, and with the team UPEIDA, we are taking on them. To give you an idea, one of the toughest challenges that we have encountered so far is to get entities willing to establish their business in our Corridor. There are many vectors beyond GoUPs control; getting a supply order for defence related stores (weapons, sensors, equipments and allied items) is tough even for the established players of the defence industry. This reputation distracts the prospective industrialists from venturing into defence manufacturing. Thus, we have to identify prospective manufacturers, concept, and sell the idea that our corridor is the most suitable place to start with. We are evolving suitable strategies to achieve the above.

Industry’s motivation is revenue, which can be mobilized against expressed or anticipated demand, which is totally beyond UPEIDA or GoUP. The defence supply-chain in our country is a minefield where even established global industrialists tread carefully. This makes our task of attracting new industries to the DC far more challenging. However, we are evolving suitable strategies to attract them. We have formidable competition from the other DCs in better industrialized states. 

Another big challenge is an entrenched mindset in the establishment that industrialist are a difficult lot. UPEIDA is working to propagate the PM’s Vision that for welfare of the society, including the peoples of the state, wealth is required. Only and only industrialists are the ones who can create wealth for the society, which can then be appropriated via government to the public through various measures. It is high time our establishment recognizes the above fact and treats the industrialists as the key element of the prosperity matrix of the state.

Established eco-system, which supplies of the defence stores, is by and large perceived to be interested in acquisitions, where direct or indirect imports are involved, perhaps due to personal interests of the persons representing the stakeholders at different interfaces of the supply-chain. In fact, the largest institution, admired by many for its overall management, has accumulated baggage of such a reputation that the new comers tend to avoid this supply-chain.

Yet, another challenge is working of some of the business associations of the country, that is, CII and SIDM, who are perceived by the government as entities to promote industrial activities, but they have reduced themselves to the lobbyist for few established players in the supply-chain. This nexus is hindering new industries, particularly from the MSME sector, from entering the supply chain. To get an idea of their efficacy, we need to consider the following. One of our previous Union Defence Minister invested lot of energy in institutionalizing a scheme called Technology Development Fund (TDF) in DRDO for funding development of indigenous technologies through Indian industry. For an order, as low as Rs. 10 Crores, a big defence player has cornered the order and openly talks that he is going to import and supply. Thus, sabotaging the basic idea of developing the technology indigenously, an industrialist from the state was on receiving end.

UPEIDA is also trying to leverage defence attachies placed in many Indian embassies abroad, to reach defence manufacturers of that country and enthuse them to come to our corridor and produce for Indian as well as global supplies. We are beginning to smell success in bringing the existing and new players for establishing their facilities in our corridor. We have motivation, understanding and right people who are capable of evolving the suitable strategies and implement them.

CE&CR: What has been UPEIDA’s strategy to ensure success of its projects? Would you like to tell us something about your proposed projects?

Awanish Kumar Awasthi: UPEIDA’s strategy to ensure success of its project is initiated by aggressively pursuing the processes for purchasing/acquiring ROW land on mutual consent with the land owner/farmers and ensuring that purchase/acquisition of major chuck of ROW land is completed by the time bids for construction of expressway are received. For this purpose, there is a dedicated Land Acquisition Cell in UPEIDA. At the very outset when the construction work commence, daily target for different activities such as earthwork, granular work, bituminous work and structure are fixed in a phased manner as the work progresses. Daily monitoring of the no. of machineries, technical/non-technical staff and labourers, and also the progress of procurement of the material by the contractor is done on day to day so that the target set is not missed. If any slippage in progress of the project is identified, the contractor is instructed to make amends by reviewing and singling out the cause of slippage. The authority on its part ensures timely payment to the contractors so that the cash flow is not affected and facilitates the contractors with its support in getting issues involving progress of construction work resolved with concerned Government departments. The construction of expressways is done with strict adherence to the standards and specification defined in IRC codes, Manuals, Guidelines and as per MORTH specifications. UPEIDA has executed Agra-Lucknow Expressway Project in record time with high quality standards, where the progress and quality of construction work was monitored by the Technical Cell of UPEIDA along with the authority’s engineer.

 

 

The other projects of UPEIDA under progress are:-

(i) Purvanchal Expressway

Purvanchal expressway originates from NH 731 (Lucknow Sultanpur Road) near village Chandsarai in District Lucknow, passes through Districts Barabanki, Amethi, Sultanpur, Faizabad, Amendkarnagar, Azamgarh, Mau and ends at NH-31 near village Haidariya in District Ghazipur. It is an access controlled expressway with limited entry/exit points at interchange locations only. The total length of the expressway is 340.824 km. The main carriageway of the expressway is 6 lane wide, which is expandable to 8 lane. To facilitate the expansion to 8 lanes, the structures are being constructed 8 lanes wide. The width of ROW of expressway is 120 m, to accommodate service road and future expansion of expressway. The expressway has been divided into 8 packages for the purpose of construction.

The construction of the project has commenced on 10th October, 2018. The construction work is accelerating in all the packages. Almost 58% of the Earthwork, 34% of Granular sub-base, 20% of Wet mix macadam and 10% of dense mix macadam has been completed. There are 18 flyovers, 11 interchanges, 7 Major Bridges, 112 Minor Bridges, 5 Viaducts, 489 Culverts and 220 underpasses on the main carriageway of Expressway. The work is in different stages of progress at more than 75% structure locations.

The service road has been provided in a staggered manner all along the expressway, except at major bridges and ROBs, for the convenience of local populace. The local populace will be able to access the main expressway through the service road via interchanges.

There is provision for rain water harvesting, by providing rain water harvesting structures at 500 m intervals interval on both sides of the expressway.

For safety and security of the traffic, state-of-the-art “Advanced Traffic Management System” shall be provided on the expressway.

A total no. of 8 wayside amenities area is planned for development on PPP mode along the expressway, for which land has been acquired by UPEIDA.

The completion of expressway as per agreement is to be done in 36 months, while efforts are being made to complete the work of main carriageway in 24 months.

(ii) Bundelkhand Expressway

Bundelkhand Expressway will connect Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh with New Delhi by an express corridor. This expressway will originate near Chitrakoot, about 3 km from Bharatkoop at ‘T’ junction of Jhansi-Prayagraj National Highway -35/76. The expressway will traverse through district Chitrakoot, Banda, Mahoba, Jalaun, Hamirpur, Auraiyya and terminate on Agra-Lucknow Expressway, 16 km east of Etawah-Bewar Road (NH 91) near village Kudrail in district Etawah. The total length of expressway is 296.264 km. This expressway shall be 4 lane wide (expandable to 6 lanes) with access control. The structures will be constructed 6 lanes wide for future expansion of expressway. The process for invitation of bids is under progress. The construction of this expressway is expected to start in Nov-Dec, 2019 as more than 90% of ROW land is in possession of UPEIDA.

(iii) Gorakhpur Link Expressway

Gorakhpur Link Expressway will connect Gorakhpur with the Purvanchal Expressway to facilitate development of Gorakhpur region. This expressway shall be 4 lane wide (expandable to 6 lanes) with access control. The structures will be constructed 6 lanes wide for future expansion of the expressway. This expressway will originate from Gorakhpur Bypass (NH 27) near village Jaitpur and will end at Purvanchal Expressway Ch. 190+855, near village Salarpur in district Azamgarh. The expressway will traverse through district Gorakhpur, Sant Kabir Nagar, Ambedkar Nagar and Azamgarh. The total length of Expressway is 91.352 km. The process for invitation of bids is under progress.

(iv) Ganga Expressway

Ganga Expressway will start from Delhi-Meerut Expressway (Meerut- Dasna Section). The expressway will traverse through district Meerut, Ghaziabad, Hapur, Amroha, Sambhal, Badaun, Shahjahanpur, Hardoi, Unnao, Raibareli, Amethi, Pratapgarh, Prayagraj and ends at Khemanandpur (Near Saraon) on Prayagraj Bypass. The approx length of expressway is 630 km. This expressway will be 6 lane wide (expandable to 8 lanes) with access control. Pre-feasibility study is underway by the Project Development Consultant (PDC). On finalization of alignment of expressway, detailed survey and preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR) will be done by the PDC.

 

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