solar energy


India’s President Pranab Mukherjee has revealed the country’s flagship national solar programme is to be expanded. Mukherjee said focus on energy development would be a priority and that a National Energy Policy would be revealed soon. Announcements on India’s energy policy are eagerly awaited following the recent elections.
Mukherjee said the National Energy Policy is to detail developments on energy infrastructure and expanding energy access, with a mix of new and renewable sources and fossil fuels. As part of this he said the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) would be expanded. Also new nuclear power is to be developed and there are to be coal sector reforms to increase private sector investment.
In its ‘vision document’ the BJP plans to eradicate shortages of electricity, by giving every home at least one light bulb’s worth of electrification, by harnessing solar power. The JNNSM is currently in its second stage and aims for 20GW of solar to be installed by 2022. India currently has 2.5GW of installed capacity.
However, just before Modi’s election win, anti-dumping measures were put in place on solar products imported into India. One of India’s largest solar project developers, Welspun, said the antidumping measures go against the newly elected prime minister’s manifesto, while consultancy company Bridge to India warned the measures would set India’s solar market back by two years.


Agra a solar city soon

Indra Vikram Singh, Municipal Commissioner, Agra Nagar Nigam

Tourists around the world visit the city of Agra for the iconic Taj Mahal – a fact that puts even more responsibility on the Agra Nagar Nigam (ANN), the Municipal Corporation of Agra, to benchmark the city’s cleanliness and infrastructure to high standards. With a mandate to provide basic infrastructure to the rapidly growing population, ANN deals with day-to-day activities such as water supply; elimination of water logging; construction, maintenance and repair of lanes and roads; street lighting; and garbage disposal. It also looks after facilities such as the construction of sewer lines, undertakes cleanliness projects and carries out upgrades of the venues around historical monuments. Indra Vikram Singh, Municipal Commissioner, ANN, took some time off from his busy schedule to speak to AHLAM RAIS on some key projects and his future plans for the city.

How has your experience been of taking over as Municipal Commissioner of Agra?
The Municipal Commissioner post was vacant for three months before I took over in October 2013. This was challenging as during this process, the work of the corporation had stopped and the city localities faced many problems. Hence, when I joined the corporation, I ensured that all the processes were started and speeded up for the benefit of the people.

Elaborate upon the solar city project that the corporation is planning to undertake. What is the current status?
We have developed a master plan that has been approved by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to make Agra a solar city. Now, the Detailed Project Report (DPR) is in progress. Through this project, various initiatives will be taken up, such as installation of solar panels and energy-efficient lights and instrument across Agra, which is about 140 sq km. With MNRE’s, we aim to make Agra a solar city soon.

Which projects have helped change the face of the city?
The roads in the entire city were in a bad condition. Under my leadership, the corporation has restored the roads. ANN has also been assigned Rs 128 crore to develop the areas near the Taj Mahal. We have also taken up a new nalah project at Gwalior Road for the benefit of the local population. Apart from this, we have also carried out cleanliness projects, including restoration of the 400-year-old lake with clean water at Taal Firoz Khan tomb in the city. Another major cleanliness project we have carried out is Nalah Mantola.

Are there any JNNURM projects in Agra?
Agra has JNNURM projects in the form of sewer line projects that spread across the city. Phase-I of this project has been completed and Phase-II is in progress.

Can we expect tenders to be floated in the near future?
We float tenders only for the construction, repair and maintenance of roads and this is an ongoing process.

For the same, we make use of e-tendering system.

What is the budget of the corporation? What are your future plans for the city of Agra?
The annual budget of the corporation is about Rs 100 crore and our funding is supported by the Uttar Pradesh Government. Our future plan is to cater to the basic necessities of the people in the city such as providing water supply and carrying out cleanliness projects. For us, developmental projects are of utmost importance.

Agra Nagar Nigam

  • Year of establishment: 1959
  • Total city area: 140 sq km
  • Current city population: Rs 32 lakh
  • Municipal counselors: 100
  • Annual budget: Rs 100 crore
  • JNNURM projects: Municipal solid waste management
  • Yamuna action plan Phase II for branch and lateral sewer lines in northern and western zones
  • Agra water supply
  • Agra sewerage scheme Phase I (Part I)

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Govt to lay down foundation stone for Lucknow metro

The Lucknow metro rail will soon get the Central Government´s approval and the foundation laying of the first phase of the project between Amausi airport and Charbagh will be performed soon. An experienced firm had been asked to prepare a DPR (detailed project report) for Kanpur, Varanasi, Agra, Bareilly, Aligarh, Meerut and Allahabad on the basis of their population after looking into their eligibility.lucknow-metro-website-5284c1f1dafc8_exl


National Green Tribunal asks for report on construction ban

NOIDA: The National Green Tribunal on Monday directed Ghaziabad local authorities and UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) member-secretary to submit a report on implementation status of ban orders on construction on the Sahibabad drain and a green belt in Vaishali by March 10.

The tribunal had enforced the ban on February 5. Apart from the pollution control board, NGT has also given the order to the GDA, Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation and the UP State Industrial Development Corporation.
Based on an application filed by Ghaziabad-based environmental activist Hazi Arif, the tribunal had ordered the authorities to stop all construction activities on the drain between Kaushambi Metro station and Mohan Nagar. The tribunal had also directed to stop the release of untreated water into Sahibabad drain, which empties near Kalindi Kunj in Delhi.

According to the report, the bench had restricted constructions for the drain, which cause obstructions to the free flow of effluents, unless those constructions have valid permissions from the authorities.

The activist in his application said that the constructions over the particular stretch of green belt had disrupted groundwater recharge in the region and reduced green cover.

He also said that concretizing activities have been carried out despite the area having been declared as ‘over-exploited’ in terms of groundwater resources by the Central Ground Water Authority.


Sand rates soar, construction hit

BANGALORE: The indefinite strike by truckers that began on Saturday has construction business at the receiving end. With transporters staying off roads, the rates of sand have almost doubled, affecting construction activities. The loss due to delay in projects may amount to Rs 250 crore per day, say experts.

Before the strike began, river sand was available for Rs 25,000-30,000 per truck load. The figure now stands at Rs 50,000. Even the cost of filtered sand has gone up to Rs 25,000 per truck load.

Construction industry experts estimate the daily loss because of non-availability of sand at Rs 250 crore. However, they say the impact has reduced as some builders are now using manufactured sand and composite sand with fly ash and not just talcomised limestone. The industry is also worried about the Rs 14 million per day loss of wasted employment.

Truckers under the aegis of All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) and Federation of Karnataka Lorry Owners Association (FOKLOA) have opposed the new sand policy introduced by the government on December 16. It suggests how sand should be extracted but is silent on its transportation within and outside the state. They are also protesting against the atrocities on truck drivers.

Already 632 cases are on going against 150 odd truck drivers ferrying sand. “We will not start plying trucks if the government does not more permits. The permits given to transport sand to Dakshina Kannada district is smuggled off to other states but that is not allowed to reach Bangalore. We don’t want assurances; we demand the government to promises us in front of media,” said G R Shanmugappa, president of AIMTC.

Threat to other raw materials?

Even as the strike is on, one party has also threatened to stop transporting other construction material like iron rods, bricks, cement and tiles. “I don’t think this is appropriate. We have not made our stand clear on this but I think we should give some time to the government to consider our genuine demands,” said B Channa Reddy, president, FOKLOA.

Overall, truckers’ associations have demanded more permits for sand transporting vehicles. Permits are given only for 1,000 trucks which while the number of trucks carrying sand is five times more.

“Those who transport sand illegally should be penalized. The nexus of RTO, PWD, mining and geology department officials and police should be broken. A truck load earns barely Rs 5,000 of which Rs 1,000 goes to government as bribes and fines. Also roughly five crew work in each truck which brings down the income per truck to only Rs 1,000. The new sand policy is anti-truckers,” said Reddy.

Metro work unaffected

BMRC has said the strike has had no immediate effect on Metro rail work. “In most sites, we don’t require more sand. We have begun the process of concretizing. We need sand only for tunneling, but our stocks are enough to meet immediate demands,” said PS Kharola, MD, BMRC.


UP govt gives green signal for Agra ring road project

For the construction of Agra inner ring road, the Uttar Pradesh cabinet on September 10 approved bidding process. Under the agreed decision, the Agra Development Authority will bear the cost of allotting land to developers and the project will be implemented on a public-private partnership basis. The project, expected to cost Rs 1,000 crore to the State government including the land value, includes the construction of a 22 kilometre stretch as the inner ring road, along with a 100 metre right of way. Construction of an overbridge on Yamuna, a railway overbridge and two inter-changes are included in the project.


Illegal structures removed along Mumbai-Agra h’way

The Nashik Municipal Corporation’s (NMC) anti-encroachment department has removed illegal structures on the Mumbai-Agra highway on November 14. Food and tea stalls, and other illegal structures along the highway were removed by the civic body with the help of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the city police. NMC also removed hoardings put up by political parties. Commissioner of Police Kulwant Kumar Sarngal said officials of the NHAI had approached him for protection during the encroachment drive. Police personnel were deployed for the purpose, he said.

agra-luckhnow expressway

No bidders for Agra-Lucknow Expressway

For the proposed 270-km expressway between Agra and Lucknow no road developers have come forward. The Expressway project is a pet project of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. The proposed express way is an eight-lane Greenfield project. The Expressway project was conceptualised in 2012, soon after the Samajwadi Party took power, the project was much hyped at business meets. But the lukewarm interest in the Rs 10,000 crore project has crashed the hopes of the government to shore up Uttar Pradesh’s image as a business destination, say media reports.


It’s time to construct your social media strategy

Over the past year or so we have seen growth and a big change in attitudes to social media, perhaps particularly with Twitter, which is now an accepted element in today’s communication mix.


Those who a few years back were adamantly against social media have now joined, often with a fanfare of “we’ve arrived, we’re innovative” and with some organisations once totally anti social media now proclaiming expertise in helping others.

In 2012 I wrote in The Guardian (Why the construction sector should engage with social media) that one of the barriers to social media take-up, and hence by default a barrier to collaborative working communications, BIM, learning and sharing and general construction improvement is the reluctance of directors and senior managers to recognise, embrace or enable social media.

Of course there are as ever some great exceptions to this. But all too often directors have tinkered out of curiosity, and empty LinkedIn and Twitter accounts now tell a different story: of organisations and directors who are poor communicators.

So why are built environment organisation leaders slow to embrace these communication platforms? Maybe it’s the:

Need to retain control

The beauty of social media is in its open sharing. We can never know who staff will reach, converse with, learn from, share with, collaborate with and how those we converse with will respond.

Lack of understanding

Digital communications are expanding rapidly, beyond the understanding of many. Consequently many directors feel vulnerable in engaging with something they don’t understand, so stay away.

Fear of just being a fad.

Without a clear vision of how social media will evolve, and how it can be used strategically to benefit an organisation, many directors are reluctant to invest in seemingly unchartered waters.

All this is sad for a 21st century construction sector, where communications are so often the root cause of most of our problems, where most companies promote a vision of innovative, open, collaborative and where most directors sell themselves as enabling role models for innovation.

Social media presence is increasingly used as a good test of an organisations, and indeed the organisation’s leaders claims within PQQs, bids and PR material to be innovative, and having effective internal and external communications.

Earlier this year we started Sustainability Leadership Conversations, powered by social media, to enable leaders of smaller built environment organisations to engage with the sustainability conversations that take place across across social media. Initially these are monthly Twitter conversations with leading individuals, but will expand to facilitate conversations between SMEs and organisations in the UK and US.

Having a strategy for social media in your organisation is essential, as it is with other initiatives, and should be the starting point for adopting social media approaches. To discuss support for getting your strategy under way, get in touch (Martin in UK,Andrea in USA).If you are UK based, we can help you apply for Innovation Voucher funding to ensure your social media, digital communication and BIM journey sets off on the right footing.




Ruukki, a European manufacturer and supplier of steel, will showcase its Raex wear-resistant and Optim high-strength steels for construction and mining industry at the bC India 2013 in Mumbai.

“Ruukki provides special steel products and services to Indian and international customers operating in India. We have had our own office in Mumbai since 2012 and continue to work with our long-term partner Steelforce, which also stocks Ruukki’s special steels in India,” said Thomas Hörnfeldt, senior Vice president, Special Steels & International Sales.

By using Raex and Optim steels in the construction of tipper bodies, the company said, it is possible to create a steel tipper that weighs almost the same as aluminium – without compromising on the durability and performance. “With special steel products from Ruukki, vehicles can be built to provide a longer operating life with lower weight to allow reduced fuel consumption, higher payloads and reduced CO2 emissions,” the company said.



Raex steels prevent the wear and damage of structural parts and decrease repair costs for road building and mining machinery. The lifetime of bucket made of Raex steel can be about 2 or 3 times longer than that of structural steels. In application where higher payloads are required, the use of wear-resistant Raex and high-strength Optim steels can reduce steel thickness and thus tipper body weight by 20 per cent.

One of the products in the Raex wear-resistant steel family is Raex 400 Tube, which is designed for the cost-efficient transport of wet concrete and other semi-fluid liquids and abrasive materials. It can significantly improve the performance of pumping or dredging equipment and extend its service life beyond normal standards. Raex 400 Tube is simply the hardest cold-formed steel tube in the world. It can be produced to a wide dimensional range for pumping, dredging and mining applications.