The authority has now issued fresh deadlines for project completion
Moga deputy commissioner (DC) Kulwant Singh has now directed National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) officials to complete the work on National Highway 95 between Ludhiana and Talwandi Bhai (Ferozepur) through Moga by April 2023.More than 10 years have passed since the four-laning work on the 78 km stretch of National Highway 95 had started. After missing several deadlines and despite the financial aid provided by the NHAI, the project is still far from fulfilment.The project was to be achieved by 2017 and has since then missed six deadlines. About 10% of the construction work is still pending. Despite numerous extensions, the construction company failed to finish the project, and the roads it constructed also turned out to be of substandard quality. Most of the remaining work is on the stretch between Moga and Talwandi Bhai.NHAI has been given an additional one-year extension and requested to finish the four-laning work in four phases. One month deadline has been fixed to repair the rainwater harvesting system along the 10 km stretch passing via Moga city, and pending construction work of the drain should be finished by June end.A two-month deadline is fixed for the unfinished flyover at Ghal Kalan, while April 2023 deadline has been given to complete the rail overbridge (ROB) at Dagru.The construction work on the National Highway 95 is still not completed. The administration has now issued fresh deadlines to NHAI to complete this project. The incomplete highway has resulted in several accidents in the area. NHAI has already floated a tender for the pending work of the Ghal Kalan flyover. The construction work status at ROB will be reviewed every two months.He has also fixed a May-end deadline to establish streetlights on the complete stretch.An official of NHAI said since the company which was allotted the project left midway, the highway authority will float separate tenders to finish work.The official said some approvals for the remaining work completion are pending. So far, no firm has been decided as the tender process is ongoing.The main reason behind the unnecessary delay in the completion of the project was the conflict between the contractor and subcontractors. The project was awarded to PAN India for Rs 692 crores in 2013, which further awarded the job to Varaha Infrastructure. The passing of the work almost kept the project at a halt for about two years — October 2013 to July 2015. Later, the construction project was again taken over by the Essel Group.
South sees cement price rise
Prices have risen by Rs 13 per bag.
Cement prices across most regions in India headed lower in August as the monsoon continued to pick up pace. However, south India was an exception. The latest dealers’ channel check by Kotak Institutional Equities showed cement prices in south India have risen by ₹13 per bag in August from July and are now at ₹404. One cement bag weighs 50 kg.
Most dealers based in the South continue to report poor sales on a month-on-month basis in August compared to July because of lack of credit flow, high cement prices, a heavy monsoon and a slowdown in government infrastructure projects.
Fuel for Thought
As the world moves towards novel exchange denominators like cryptocurrency, the cement industry is busy battling one of the oldest currencies in the world – fuel.
With the war between Russia and Ukraine continuing to rage, fuel prices have hit the roof, as can be seen from the rising cost of pet coke, diesel, freight and energy, which are important factors for cement manufacturing and mobilisation. The most likely scenario would have been a resulting increase in cement price, however the price correction did not follow through and the cement sector witnessed flat rates in May and a dip in prices in June across India. This has adversely affected the profitability of cement. Amid elevated costs of raw materials and decrease in demand, Emkay Global Financial Services has cut its earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) estimates for the sector by 5-6 per cent for FY 23/24/25.
Apart from this, currently sustainability is also detrimental to cost efficiency for cement companies. Green energy initiatives, such as alternative fuel and raw materials (AFR) and waste heat recovery system (WHRS), are adding to the production costs. These costs are not getting translated into price hike, leaving the cement makers to bear the brunt. However, sustainable production and net zero targets are not to be toyed with, and each player has to put in their best effort. With regards to input costs, experts are hopeful of price corrections through rise in demand for cement in the months to come.
All eyes are right now on Russia, thanks to the compelling need to sourcing fuel from low-cost destinations. Giants from the steel and power industries are already dealing with Russia for its pulverised coal. India has also shown an interest in increasing its import of thermal and coking coal from Russia, and is estimated to import 40 million tonnes tonnes by 2035.
Corrections in pricing and innovations in raw materials and alternative energy might be at different ends of the spectrum but they are bound to have a long lasting impact on cement companies, as each player puts in their best effort to win this fuel fight.
KEC International bags orders worth Rs. 12.33 billion
Secures an order to build India’s first 765 kV Digital Substation
KEC International, an RPG Group Company, has secured new orders of Rs. 12.33 billion across its various businesses:
The business has secured orders for T&D projects in India, Middle East and Americas: 765 kV Digital GIS Substation order in India, from Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL), supply of towers in Middle East, secured by subsidiary in UAE, supply of towers, hardware and poles in Americas, secured by the company’s subsidiary, SAE Towers.
The business has secured orders for infra works in the paints and metals & mining segments; laying of cross-country pipeline and associated works and various types of cables in India and overseas.
Mr. Vimal Kejriwal, MD & CEO, KEC International commented, “We are pleased with the new order wins, especially the prestigious order from PGCIL, to build India’s first 765 kV Digital substation. Our Civil business continues to strengthen and diversify its presence in the industrial segment with the addition of a very reputed client. We are also encouraged by the order in the Oil and Gas Pipelines, which further enhances the business’ order book.”