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Tuesday , 28 May 2024

Interview: Revolutionizing Road Construction

India needs fast growth in road capacity building. Not only highways, but also roads in rural areas and backward hilly areas. How do you look at your new technology to be put into use?

RBI Grade-81 stabilizer is an inorganic pavement material which is used with the existing soil to carry out a binding action of the insitu soil and thus drastically reduces the requirement of using aggregates and bitumen for pavement construction. This technology when applied for road construction, pan India, we would be able to save every year 200MMT aggregates, 1.5MMT bitumen and `170 billion every year. Alternatively, with same cost, we could build an additional 10,000km of roads every year.

This technology can be used for construction of all kinds of road pavements like rural roads, city roads, highways, expressways, runways/helipads and hardstandings. The use of this technology results in faster execution, better quality and economical construction of roads/pavements.

India has a vast network of National Highways totaling to 34,298km connecting important towns, cities, ports and industrial centres of the country. Many sections of the NHs are in need of up-gradation by way of widening, grade separation, construction of bypasses, and expressways. At the same time, rural roads are an important sector in rural development. A good rural transportation network can give shape to the living environment of villagers. With so much road development activity at stake, there is a vast requirement of construction materials like. aggregate, good quality soil and bitumen. These are however available in meager quantity as also depleting at a very fast rate. With the Supreme Court having banned/restricted quarrying activities, availability of aggregates has become a stumbling block in road construction activities. Many of the projects have come to a standstill. It is here that the use of RBI Grade-81 will come as a savior by drastically reducing the quantity of aggregate and bitumen that is required.

Roads constructed with this technology have performed very well, some of these are now more than five years old and still require no repair/maintenance. We are now in the process of getting bulk orders for more roads to be constructed with this technology.

Are you planning to bring in more technologies for the road sector or for any other applications connected to traffic and transport?

Another technology, brought in by us related to the road sector and railway transport is the Eco-Breaking Technology. This replaces the use of conventional explosives and avoids the use of very expensive mechanical breakers being used in the Mining Industry. It is used for construction of tunnels by the Railways/ Metro Rail Network and construction of roads/pavements in mountains/high altitude areas.

This technology uses cartridges which do not detonate like a conventional explosive. The conventional explosive emits poisonous gases, has a very large safety distance due to the shattering/blast effect and is very high in noise decibels. As compared to this, the Eco Breaking Cartridge has a noise compared to the shot, fired from a pistol, with a silencer. It emits no poisonous gases, the safety distance is less than 10 meters, has no blast effect and hence can be used even in thickly habituated areas in the heart of cities/towns. As compared to conventional explosives, on ignition the EBT cartridge does not explode, it only deflagrates (fast rate of burning). It falls in the safety classification of fireworks/matchbox for storage and transportation.

The rocks can be cut to a surgical precision, thereby avoiding costs of over/under cutting by conventional explosives. The most significant advantage is that the use of EBT will eliminate the risk on the theft and use of explosives by the terrorists. The tunnels, which we are being constructed for Railways, Highways and Metro Rail, presently in a time period running into number of years, can be completed in a few months and that too, at a much lower cost. Alternatively, we could more than double the length of construction within the same time and at same cost.

What are the other product offerings?

Alchemist Group is becoming one of India?s fastest growing publicly traded conglomerates, with over 9,700 employees across India. Today the Group has interests in Foods & Hospitality, Healthcare, Road Technologies and Education. The Group continues to have business interests in Pharmaceuticals, Steel Products, Aviation, Real Estate and Agri Products.

? In the processed food market we supply premium chicken products to global institutions, large supermarkets apart from servicing through our own 55 outlets. Alchemist hospitals in Gurgaon and Chandigarh are super-specialty units providing all kinds of medical services.

? RBI Grade-81 and Eco-Breaking Technologies will usher in revolution in the road construction industry.

? Our Pharma vertical produces high quality generic medicines.

? Steel division produces world class welded wire mesh and chain links used for fencing etc.

? Global Trade with agri commodities with an understanding for principle world markets and major consumption markets.

What is the extent of application of RBI Grade-81 in the building construction industry? Is there variation in technology when it comes to bricks?

RBI Grade-81 is a product which is meant for road and pavement construction. Its applications also include Airfields, Advanced Landing Grounds, Hangers, Runway shoulders, Hard Standing Grounds, Helipads etc. Beneath the black top, a road or pavement consists of various layers including Sub grade, Sub base and Base layers. RBI Grade-81 can be used in any of these layers depending upon the requirement. In the Sub grade, it increases the CBR of the soil thereby giving a strong foundation to the road. This helps in reducing the crust thickness thereby reduced cost and time in construction. It changes the properties of soil irreversibly and also prevents moisture from beneath by reducing permeability. In the Base layers, RBI Grade-81 provides binding which gives unmatched strength/durability to the road and maintains it when saturated over time. It has already been adopted in various countries around the world.

We are experimenting to use RBI Grade-81 with bricks. The research and development for this is in a preliminary stage as of now.

What are the Group?s expansion plans?

Alchemist group is growing fast under the leadership of its Chairman Emeritus Dr. K D Singh and the Chairman Karan Deep Singh. The Group has interests in varied fields. We have already diversified in Airways, Aviation, Education, Eco Breaking Technologies (explosives), Tea etc. Further growth in these sectors has been planned and envisaged in the future apart from continuous growth in other verticals. We aim to provide the best platform for shareholders, executives, employees and entrepreneurs to not only profit, prosper and succeed, but also rise to the challenges and responsibilities of the new India being built for the 21st Century. We have audacious plans for our social, cultural and environmental impact by 2020. As we move to become one of the Top 20 Indian conglomerates, we also aim to achieve a rightful place for ourselves in the stratum of the leading business groups of our nation.

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