The stars came out in full force at the Oscars of the construction industry, receiving their awards with pride and walking the victory ramp with panache.
October 6, 2017 ITC Grand Central, Mumbai
Consider this: A single rupee invested in construction and infrastructure generates opportunities worth Rs 10. In simple terms, this sector has the highest capital gearing ability, accounts for over 8 per cent of India's GDP, and generates huge employment opportunities. Wouldn't you agree that such an industry requires encouragement, motivation and, yes, appreciation?
That thought formed the genesis of the CW Annual Awards - a platform that recognises and awards the frontrunners of the construction industry. And this year, October 6 was the day we gathered to unveil India's Fastest Growing Construction Companies, applaud the Top Challengers; and salute the CONSTRUCTION WORLD Man of the Year 2017.
The past year has been one of churn and change - demonetisation, digitalisation, GST, RERA - aimed at ushering greater accountability and transparency into the sector. With these new realities, the industry has been impelled to redefine the way ahead and re-strategise business plans. In fact, 'New Realities' was the theme of the grand evening, where the 21st CONSTRUCTION WORLD Anniversary Edition was also launched and over 20 industry experts shared their perspectives and prescriptions.
He's the man!
Instituted by the jury, the Man of the Year award considered construction heroes who have made remarkable achievements this year and, through their efforts, propelled the company, organisation and industry forward. This year, the award went to Elias George, Managing Director, Kochi Metro Rail (KMRL), who said, 'We are trying to do things a different way in Kochi, and this recognition is a great source of inspiration and motivation for us.' (Read interview on page 62.)
Meanwhile, receiving the Largest Construction Company award for Larsen & Toubro (L&T), MV Satish, Whole-Time Director and Senior Executive Vice President-Buildings, Minerals & Metals, commented on what makes the company the unchallenged leader in construction: 'We believe in being selective and focussed with our projects, and we are also innovative.'
Another huge round of applause was heard for Dilip Buildcon, the Fastest Growing Construction Company in the Large Category.
It was a double celebration for the company as it also received the award for being among India's Top Challengers of 2016-17. 'Our focus on execution has led us to where we are today,' reasoned Rohan Suryavanshi, Director, Dilip Buildcon.
This was followed by some insights from several winners in the Fastest Growing Companies category (turn to page 64).
The perfect start
With 15 winners and 10 partners, and a houseful hall comprising over 280 industry stalwarts, this year marked another milestone for the awards.
Starting the evening on the perfect note was Pratap Padode, Managing Director, ASAPP Info Global Group. In his welcome address (excerpts on page 77), he said: 'Speaking of urbanisation, China in 18 years saw pressure moving from 30 to 50 per cent, and India is at 30 per cent today. So the next 15 or 18 years are going to be hell for the cities, and city administrators have great challenges ahead. But amid those challenges lie our opportunities and that's why we are here to celebrate with those who are able to identify these opportunities and grow along.'
He went on to add, 'Growth is not about sales alone; it needs profitability of the plans and that is what our assessment model actually identifies. And companies winning the awards have done both: Grown by sales and grown by profit ahead of others.' Padode also mentioned that the new companies that have come within the ambit of the CW Annual Awards indicate that with the new guidelines, the new set of EPC mode, it is far more feasible and sustainable for construction companies to grow. 'I think EPC currently is the absolutely clear way of growth.'
FIRST (Foundation of Infrastructure Research Studies Training), a non-profit body engaged in research and information, has developed a statistical model to analyse and present India's Fastest Growing Construction Companies for the past 15 years. The model uses financial data from the past six years to categorise and rank companies under 'Large', 'Medium' and 'Small'. This data is further assessed by a jury panel. Elaborating upon the assessment process, Padode pointed to 'sourcing data' as a major challenge. Despite this, he shared how the eminent and efficient jury panel took the initiative to seek data from those companies who were riding high but not actually listed. (For the jury proceedings, turn to page 74.)
Adding extra sparkle to the event was Special Guest Pravin Darade, Additional Municipal Commissioner, MMRDA, and Secretary to the Maharashtra Chief Minister (excerpts on page 78). 'The CM's vision is to provide world-class, end-to-end solutions within Mumbai along with multi-modal integration, single-ticketing system for suburban trains, BEST, metro and mono, and to further stretch it with share cab or taxi,' he said. 'We have a vision of implementing projects in the coming five years with MMRDA in Maharashtra, a project worth more than Rs 150,000 crore.'His appeal to the industry was to work with values and ethics and make the country proud.
Further, Keynote Speaker (and Man of the Year) George spoke of project management in India (excerpts on page 79). 'What I have learnt in the past five years in Kochi Metro is that one of the problems faced by public infrastructure projects is that we do not think deeply enough in the beginning about how the project should be done. In India, we spend about 2 per cent of the project cost on DPR; in the US it's 10 per cent.' He also pointed out the philosophy followed by World Bank projects: 'You spend three years on planning a project that is executed in two years.'
Partners in success
While the awards were presented by one of India's leading companies Apollo; Tata Projects, L&T Construction, Dilip Buildcon and Sany India were Silver Partners; Sunil Hitech the Star Partner; Wirtgen Group, KNK, Srei and Action Construction Equipment Associate Partners; FIRST, the Knowledge Partner; and EQUIPMENT INDIA, CONSTRUCTION WORLD and CNN News 18 the Media Partners.
'India is going through rapid change, both socially and economically, and like everyone else we, too, believe strong infrastructure is the key to economic growth,' said Rajesh Dahiya, Group Head, Apollo Tyres. 'Apollo Tyres is fully aligned to the opportunity for the construction industry in India. We offer a full range of tyres for Indian consumers and are known for quality and durability.' He urged the industry to explore Apollo in private as well as business vehicles, such as trucks, dumpers, compactors, loaders, etc.
The celebration continues... The awards were a true celebration of 15 years of industry achievement. Addressing the industry stalwarts and dignitaries, Falguni Padode, Group Managing Editor, ASAPP Info Global Group, said, 'I would like to thank each of you for being with us on this sometimes tough, but extremely fulfilling journey.'
Congratulating the winners, 'our stars', she concluded by quoting Charles Kettering: 'High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation.' She added, 'As contributors to the nation-building process, we salute your achievements that have far exceeded industry expectations!' That said, the words of Benjamin Franklin ring equally true: 'Without continual growth and progress, words such as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning!' Indeed.
Click here to view the winners gallery.
Read on for more on the winning companies, jury and addresses by the key dignitaries.