Thursday, July 29, 2010

NH24 to get 8 lanes

It is a known fact that transporters face challenging situations when travelling towards Nainital and Corbett National Park due to bad roads and incredibly tough traffic conditions. NH- 24 which is the primary highway used when making this trip, is getting ready for an overhaul of big proportions. This is necessary since the Commonwealth Games are coming soon to Delhi and the traffic conditions could soon be much worse resulting in delays and optimisation problems.

Well , for starters the NH 24 will be upgraded to an 8 lane highway from the existing 4 lanes.The stretch that will be upgraded is from Ghaziabad border to Dasnia near Hapur.This stretch is proposed to be completed before this year is out. Well as many people who have taken this highway know that this is one of the busiest highway corridors in the country. This new overhaul will make strive to make this stretch almost traffic-signal free.

And the other unusual tidbit of information is that this upgraded stretch will be toll-free. This is very unlike earlier projects which have focused on better connectivity through roadways, the case in point being Delhi-Gurgaon expressway. This development has been discussed by Ministry Officials. They have explained the toll free status as reasonable because the majority of the traffic that uses this route is local. They expect traffic on this road to grow in view of increased occupancy in residential areas along NH-24. A top ministry official said that “This will be a cash contract project and we are hopeful of awarding it in the next one month. We have consciously decided not to follow the public private partnership (PPP) model. We felt that there would be strong opposition if we made it a toll road.”Ministry sources said the plan was conceived years ago but somehow did not take off. Ministry sources said two years back the daily traffic movement on this stretch was nearly 1.4 lakh passenger car units (PCUs). In the recent years, areas beyond Ghaziabad border have emerged as prime residential destination for people working in Delhi.A traffic survey by RITES in 2008 had shown that vehicular growth on this stretch had increased by almost 200% more than the highway’s carrying capacity.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mr. Rakesh Kalra, MD, MNAL on the Indian trucking industry and more

CNBC TV 18 has recently aired an interesting panel discussion that it conducted with the top honchos of various companies which are propelling the nature and business of the Indian Transportation Sector. This panel discussion took place at The  Indian Road Transportation Awards 2010. This event was organised by CEAT. Mr. Rakesh Kalra, MD, Mahindra Navistar, was also one of the participants here. The discussion  was directed at the innovative new products by many companies, the impact they have had on the domestic market and key challenges faced by these companies. Mr.Kalra shed light upon how a joint venture such as Mahindra Navistar can improve the commercial transport industry. Watch the entire discussion in the video below.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Challenges involved in Indian Highway projects

No one will disagree that India is growing rapidly. But infrastructure is seemingly failing to catch up with it. This is primarily due to a unhealthy mix of poor planning  and execution.The National Highway Development Programme and its poor vision are one of the major factors in abysmal conditions of highway infrastructure.

Costing for an infrastructure project like highways is a huge task consisting of a plethora of things that have to be taken into account.These include construction costs and costs of financing the project.The large scale diversity of India and the variety of conditions in different places makes it difficult to meet all costs. Government help and funding are needed to ensure smooth sailing.This cost borne by the Government is called Viability Gap Funding (VGF).So setting the VGF level is crucial in this respect. The right amount of funding is the need for the hour because the ups or down in the funding may give large scale problems either for the project or the tax-paying public.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has increased the funding from 20% of the total project cost to 40%.This increase hurts the tax payers whose money goes into the project.The way things are organised, if the project fails, most of the responsibility rests with NHAI which puts it at a lot unnecessary risks. The question is: Where will NHAI get this money from in the case a project goes south?

USSR failed miserably at implementing similar policies. For all practical purposes, India still has a backbone of these policies. Spending more than your budget to get something done is inadvisable. Everyone knows that it is a huge risk on an individual level itself.Imagine the whole country being at the risk due to  pathetic policies implemented by the Government.We can all learn from the failure of the Socialist system and plan our country’s policies in a fool-proof way.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mahindra Navistar MN25 Test Drive and Review

We promised you that the MN 25 and its variants will revolutionize the trucking standards in India. CNBC TV18 agrees. Their popular show Overdrive takes a clinical look at the MN25. And we must say, they are quite impressed by our offering.
Mr. Sandeep Srikanth, of CNBC TV18 test drives the MN25, and gives a glowing account of our new vehicle. For those who missed the review, you can catch the review here. If you believe that enough is enough and Ok is no longer Ok, see for yourself what the buzz is all about.