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Construction : On Contract | December 2018 | Source : CW-India

We are commencing work on a Rs 14.5-billion Bharatmala highway project, says Hardik Agrawal, Director, Dineshchandra R Agrawal Infracon

Here's the company that recently completed among India's first HAM highway project! Four-decade-year-old Dineshchandra R Agrawal Infracon offers a diversified portfolio that includes projects in roads, highways and bridges; aviation infrastructure; railways and metro-rail; building construction; water supply and waste management; and smart cities and urban development.

What's more, the company is also planning an information and communications technology (ICT) division to undertake smart city projects. Hardik Agrawal, Director, shares more on the company's plans in a tOte-a-tOte with SERAPHINA D'SOUZA.

Completing among India's first HAM highway project, that too, 11 months ahead of schedule! What led to its faster execution?
For the Salasar to Nagaur project, we received financial closures well within time. A huge factor that led to faster completion was our team's efforts. The key managerial staff planned out a wonderful programme to facilitate faster construction within 19 months as against the allotted 30 months. A major factor that helped was the deployment of man and machinery. We maintained the project's quality throughout, even as we implemented it on a blitzkrieg scale.

How has technology played a role in ensuring faster completion?
Our technological advancements come in at the planning stage, and we rely heavily on state-of-the-art machinery. For instance, for airport and highway projects, we adopt German technology for pavers.

We analyse good resource mobilisation, statistical planning, linear programming - a traditional project management tool that can be combined with modern equipment for good results. We are also looking at using more sustainable tools that give back to the environment.

Highlight some of the local or sustainable materials that you use in your projects.
We use fly-ash bricks for our building projects. We are also experimenting with light-weight concrete for faster setting that gives higher porosity and helps for climate management. One of my professors in the US back then invented a new form of concrete that was porous to sunlight and allowed for better luminosity in the building û internally we are working on how this innovation can be brought to India. Similarly, a new practice for floating foundation, which is in works, was recently proposed by a Norwegian company at a recent convention. So, we are exploring how the international scenario is growing and how such innovations can be brought to India.

Which sector from your diversified portfolio contributes maximum to the business?
Essentially, our presence in the highway sector is the strongest; it contributes about 60 per cent to our overall business. This is followed by a close call between bridges and airport infrastructure. We have undertaken building works for air-force stations, runway surfacing and associated works at the airports of Ahmedabad, Agartala, Jaipur, Udaipur, Vijaywada, Kochi, Port Blair, etc.

Tell us about the ICT division that the company is planning.
We are active in more than 20 states in the country. This clearly indicates that we have a huge network and presence in various regions, which makes it effectively easy for us to enter a new type of project or territory. We have a strong team in the intelligent transport systems (ITS) sector; are planning a lot of ICT pilot projects; and are speaking to several international companies to bring-in new avant-garde technologies. We are pushing forward ITS and smart cities.

How about your experience with projects under NHIDCL?
We have completed the first project of NHIDCL department in Arunachal Pradesh; and are also about to complete the second project there. We are also building bridges on the Indo-Bangladesh border. Our initial challenge of connectivity is getting better now.

In any construction project, natural resources and availability of materials are crucial, and this is something well available in the North-East.

Overall, how has the year been and how has it reflected in the company's growth numbers?
Having reported a remarkable growth, our annual revenue reached up to Rs 24.5 billion. Our current order book stands at about Rs 75 billion. We have already secured about Rs 40-50 billion worth of projects since March this year. Going forward, we expect a continued steady growth, with the same growth story we have had, given our success with HAM. With our second HAM project nearing completion, we will soon start work on our third one. Further, we are commencing work on a Rs 14.5-billion Bharatmala highway project, which is one of the longest highway projects awarded in India so far - at 273 km.

What makes us a success story is the credibility we have in the market today. 

We have no pending payments, which means, the amount of investment we are willing to make is totally result-driven. Our approach is project-to-project and it is in the interest of completing the project more than just maintaining the company's assets. We are also looking at growing slowly with a share in the international markets.

Year of establishment: 1972
Top management: Dineshchandra R Agrawal,
Chairman & Managing Director; Jagdishchandra R Agrawal, Executive Director
No. of employees: 3,000 +
Centre of operation: Ahmedabad
Turnover: Rs.24.5 billion

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