Date: April 21.
Venue: Claridges Hotel, New Delhi.
Organiser: ASAPP Info Global Group.
Outstanding performers from India's infrastructure equipment sector were honoured at the grand evening.
The who's who of India's infrastructure equipment sector had started arriving nearly an hour before the awards ceremony was to get underway. The world's 17th biggest tyre manufacturer by revenues, Apollo Tyres was the event sponsor, while the National Highway Builders Federation was the Associate Partner. Other than EQUIPMENT INDIA, after whom the awards are so named, CONSTRUCTION WORLD was also a media partner to the event.
Although a hush descended over the assembly once the ceremony kicked-off with lighting of the ceremonial lamp, the general excitement could barely be suppressed. Pratap Padode, Managing Director, ASAPP Info Global Group (publishers of EQUIPMENT INDIA), set the tone for the evening, saying, 'This event is possibly right in the beginning of the season for the construction equipment industry. Credit must be given to the government for having advanced the (Union) Budget by a month to ensure that money reaches the right places for spending at the right time, as the monsoon otherwise washes away most spending. Hopefully, this time around, everyone has already managed to pre-empt that.'
Is the government doing enough?
Members of the jury who were present on the occasion were called on to the stage to release the annual edition of EQUIPMENT INDIA, which is also much sought after by the industry as a collector's item. This was followed by a CEO Forum that was appropriately titled, 'Is government's infrastructure plan enough to build economic momentum?' The session was chaired by S Vasudevan, Director, Aerospace & Defence, KPMG. Said Vasudevan, 'There was now a need to bridge the so-called infrastructure deficit in the country.'
KK Kapila, Chairman, International Road Federation, asked if India was offering the right ease of doing business by addressing some of the long-pending issues such as service tax. RK Pandey, Member Project, NHAI, said, 'Last year we made over 8,100 km of roads, which translates into around more than 20 km daily. And, we have awarded 16,000 km plus of new roads.'
GVL Satyakumar, Executive Director-Perspective Planning, Railway Board, informed that the organisation intended to spend around Rs 8.5 lakh crore over the next five years. Ranjit Manjrekar, Vice President Asset Management, Tata Projects, pointed out that the laying of railway tracks could easily be increased from the present 600 m per day to 3 km per day.
Ramesh Palagri, Managing Director & CEO, Wirtgen India, commended the government agencies on encouraging the use of new technologies and materials. Anand Sundaresan, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Schwing Stetter India, informed that Infrastructure Equipment Skill Council is unable to enhance the skills of people that it trains since the government's tendering process fails to identify the appropriate certifying agency. Satish Sharma, President Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Apollo Tyres, once again cheered up the assembly. From 2010 to 2015, Apollo's tyre plants were running just 40 per cent of their total capacity. 'Today, not only are our plants running to their full capacity, but we have advanced our expansion plans from 2020.' Rajiv Mukhija, Chief General Manager, India Infrastructure Finance Company, opined that private investment in infrastructure will revive once viable infrastructure projects are conceived.
And the Award Goes to...
This fourth edition of the prestigious industry awards sought to honour leading equipment manufacturers as well as brought together top manufacturers, CASH (Components, Accessories, Spares and Hardware) firms, dealers and financiers. The winners were chosen by an eminent jury panel comprising Samir Bansal, General Manager India, Off-Highway Research; Anand Singh, CEO, MHE Rentals; DK Vyas, CEO, SREI Equipment Finance; Samir Malhotra, CEO, Shriram Automall; Sudhir Hoshing, CEO, IRB Infrastructure Developers; Ahamed Mohideen, Deputy Vice President, Plant & Equipment, Lodha Group; Neerav Parmar, Vice President Contracts and Procurement, Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate; Nitin R Patel, Director, Sadbhav Engineering; Santosh Parulekar, Co-Founder & CEO, Pipal Tree Ventures; Sanjeev Kathpalia, Senior Advisor, Prime Ministry, Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey; and SP Rajan, Head, Plant & Equipment, L&T Construction.
Best-selling products spread over 13 categories were honoured along with 'Equipment India Person of the Year Award' that was presented to Prakash Pai, Partner, Puzzolana Machinery Fabricators.
Ammann Apollo won for maximum sales in asphalt finishers, while JCB India walked away with the honours in backhoe loaders. CASE India won the award for compaction equipment, BEML for crawler dozers and rigid dump trucks, Tata Hitachi Construction Machinery Company for crawler excavators and mini excavators, Atlas Copco for mobile compressors, ACE India for mobile cranes, Caterpillar India for motor graders and wheel loaders, and Doosan Infracore India for skid steer loaders.
As curtains came down on the evening, a visibly elated senior executive working with a leading multinational involved in creating software solutions for the infrastructure sector was seen excitedly telling other guests, 'Great show! I'm glad that I could make it.'
- Manish Pant