“The need of the hour is to augment storage capacity”
Er. Ashwin B. Pandya,
International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID)
There are 99 irrigation projects in the completion phase under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchan Yojana which are likely to be completed by 2019-20. Er. Ashwin B. Pandya, Secretary General, International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID), shares the plans to create additional water capacity and to bring additional land under irrigation, with CT.
Highlight some of the major things about irrigation projects that are high on the agenda.
Ashwin: Indian government has started a scheme called PMKSY which has identified the 99 projects across the country which are to be completed on time bound basis. The focus is more on finding and completing last mile projects who can make immediate impact on the spread of surface irrigation across the country.
In order to improve the water and food security in the country, we need to provide more focused attention on the surface irrigation projects as they prevent over exploitation of ground water and also provide ancillary benefits of drinking water security as well as protection from floods. However, the vexatious problems of R&R have to be tackled in a mission mode to speed up the implementation process.
What is the present water capacity and what target have you planned to create additional water capacity?
Ashwin: It is difficult to define water capacity in any single term. There are various capacities involved in respect of water that is drinking water needs, irrigation needs and industrial needs. More often, they are served from a common source.
It is the need of the hour to augment our storage capacity in our reservoirs (both existing and planned) which can help provide an assured water supply and will also prevent floods and recurrent droughts. At present we
have a gross storage capacity of 225 BCM but in order to utilise our surface water resources optimally, we need to bring the same up to 450 BCM. Increased storage capacity will also improve the water availability throughout the year and will also considerably reduce adverse impacts on ground water.
What is the current progress with regard to optimising water storage capacity and bringing additional land under irrigation?
Ashwin: We have currently utilised considerable storage potential in peninsular India with a large number of dams. At present we have about 5,100 large dams out of which the majority are located in Peninsular India and central as well as west India.
However, our creation of storage potential in Himalayan rivers is not to the optimal level. Considerable storage potential exists in Himalayan rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Ghaghra, Gandak, Kosi and Brahmaputra basin rivers.
Creation of this potential is vital for success of our interlinking of rivers programme which can provide 25 million hectares of irrigation and 35,000 MW of hydro power. In addition, there is considerable emphasis on improving the last mile delivery and improve efficiency of water application which will result in increase of actual productive utilisation of water. For this purpose, a sizeable programme of command area development and water management is in pipeline with Indian government.
In November 2014, the government had decided to complete 225 irrigation projects. How many have been completed and how many are ongoing?
Ashwin: Out of these projects, 99 projects are under focused funding and completion phase under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchan Yojana and are likely to be completed by 2019-20. Bridging the viability has been promoted through a mixed route of loan and supported debt servicing by central government.
The government has decided to prioritise micro-irrigation. Can you highlight revised schemes for the same? Also how much is the government investing in the micro-irrigation programme?
Ashwin: Government already has a micro irrigation mission under ministry of agriculture and attempts are on to provide compatible pipe based distribution systems for promoting the micro irrigation. At the state government level, considerable help in terms of loans and facilitation services are available. Experiments in Krishna basin in Karnataka are notable for innovative models of financing and promoting micro irrigation.
What was the emphasis on during the the 8th Asian Regional Conference of ICID?
Ashwin: The theme of the conference was on the theme Irrigation in support of an ever green revolution. The conference was attended by not only the professionals from Asia but was also attended by a large number of experts from all the continents of the world. The conference also had an international training programme for Young professionals from across the Asian region.
The conference was hosted by the Nepal National Committee of ICID (NENCID) jointly with the Department of Irrigation (DoI), Government of Nepal and other partners. More than 700 participants had attended the meeting. The 8th ARC was inaugurated by President of Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal Bidya Devi Bhandari in the presence of Hon’ble Minister of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barsha Man Pun “Ananta”, Former Minister of Water Resources Hon’ble Dipak Gyawali, President ICID Felix Reinders, Director General of Irrigation Department Saroj Pandit, Secretary General Ashwin B. Pandya, and other distinguished invited guests. A total 105 papers were included in the abstract volume, which was presented in 7 plenary sessions and 15 technical sessions.
What kind of training does ICID provide?
Ashwin: ICID has a vigorous programme of training of young professionals in respect of cutting edge technologies and policies in the fields of agriculture water management. Every year a few training programmes are conducted around the world in terms of regional and global level participation. This year, we already had two programmes for Asian region and one global programme will be organised at Saskatoon Canada along with the American regional conference and one especially for African region in Egypt.
ICID also participates in knowledge generation in collaboration with other international organisations like FAO, WWC, GWP etc. Our flagship events of triennial congresses, World Irrigation Fora, International Draingage workshops provide a unique forum for disseminating the global knowledge amongst the comity of nations. More and more initiatives in terms of knowledge management and dissemination are being taken by ICID continuously.
What suggestions do you have to ramp up irrigation projects?
Ashwin: An important issue plaguing the implementation of irrigation projects is inter-state issues about water sharing. In addition, the land acquisition for the projects has also become a source of delays as well as cost escalations. Financing of the stalled projects is a key issue which need be addressed by the states and center jointly.
“Concrete roads are always better, now and for the future”
Prof. M N Sreehari,
Traffic advisor and Consultant,
In an exclusive interview with CT, Prof. M N Sreehari, Traffic advisor and Consultant, Karnataka, talks about how road conditions can be improved by timely maintenance and regular examination. He also speaks about how concrete roads are a better substitute for bituminous roads.
Road maintenance is a big issue in India. What suggestions do you have to address the poor quality of roads?
M N Sreehari: It is very clear that in the construction industry a sound planning of road alignment with proper geometrics is a must as a later date, it will be very difficult to change the alignment easily.
It is followed by the design as per specifications given in IRC/MORTH which is a minimum requirement to be taken care. However keeping these standards, still a better design option must be always explored. This demands the revision of codes, specifications from time to time backed by proper research and developments followed with practical / laboratory and field tests.
Construction in the field, meeting all challenges and fine-tuning of the planning underlined and the design practices if required sacrificing the design aspects.
The field control tests must be checked along with the values assumed for the design; corrections if any must be incorporated.
The maintenance aspect is really a very important stage as a proper and timely maintenance to rejuvenate the strength criteria, drainage, cross slope corrections, road safety aspects, road markings, sign and signages which are important for the operation. If timely maintenance is not carried out then the maintenance cost will go up exponentially. This stage is very important as the serviceability and life expectancy will be enhanced. Periodic overlay based on strength and deflection characteristics must be evaluated and duly followed with pavement surface corrections must be made.
The environmental aspects must be kept in utmost priority. Though, many times the planning and designs are carried out in a systematic way, the construction and maintenance part are carried out by contractor (who must be well qualified and experienced) will often ignored for obvious reasons. Road safety aspect must be considered at all stages and cross checked as per the codal practices.
Due to road maintenance and safety issues there were plans to make concrete roads. How can this make roads better, safer and longer lasting?
M N Sreehari: It is proven beyond doubt by many researches and laboratory tests that a concrete pavement gives longer life than bitumen pavement. The life cycle cost is very less as compared to bituminous pavements as the maintenance cost of concrete pavement/rigid pavement is generally high and life expectancy will be more than 30 to 40 years and the testimony of the concrete pavement still functioning since hundreds of years in India as well as in abroad. But due care must be given to provide transverse slope and longitudinal slope for effective drainage, joints must be properly covered and sealed, cutting of continuous pavement slab while laying thin white topping pavement over bituminous overlay followed with good quality control are very essential.
It is desirable to have proper drainage system in advance as well as service utilities as rigid pavement should not be cut later. This obviously affects the structural and functional serviceability of the rigid pavement. The aggregate polishing value which directly responsible in the reduction of friction co-efficient is also very important as the road grip will be often measured on this. While road marking, care must be taken to have one additional coat of black paint must be laid before yellow or white thermoplastic paint with glass beads for reflectivity. The material as such do not get affected by water/moisture which is the cause of failure of bitumen pavements.
The concrete pavement has to do nothing with moisture or drainage as moisture definitely will help the rigid pavement directly.
The adjacent shoulders must be well prepared to keep the levels of the concrete pavement and shoulder same, as this issue will become reason for road safety, periodic joint maintenance if any must be carried out and tree branchs pruning is also essential.
With all the above reasons concrete roads are always better roads for the present and future requirements.
Is the government taking any action against the road contractors/builders for constructing bad roads?
M N Sreehari: Obviously the contractor or the builder must be held responsible for the quality of the road, construction practice, laying the materials, compaction and maintenance during operation.
The Government of India / NHAI / CPWD are closely monitoring at all stages of delivering not only good quality roads but also during the project life period.
Concessionaire agreement will clearly specify in this regard covering the maintenance during operational phase. However State, Grama Panchayaths, Corporation and local authorities must follow this and contractor or builder must be made responsible till its lifetime or designated number of years then only accountability will induced amongst road builders.
The legal issues and challenges must be well within the ambit of the agreement. The bad roads are due to the poor and substandard quality of materials used for construction which can be properly controlled by site inspection and effective supervision.
Do you believe India lacks efficient highway/road technologies? What needs to be done on the technology front?
M N Sreehari: In India with a large number of research institutions, R&D establishment and sound specifications and codal provisions, will definitely lead to better technologically upgraded and advanced pavements for road construction. Obviously the cost factor will be higher than the conventional one. The recently inaugurated smart highway in Delhi to Meerut (14 m super expressway) is a testimony. There is no dearth for technologically advanced pavements and road building in India but accordingly the codes, specifications, construction and maintenance manual with built-in- safety must be used.
Every state must follow this to build technologically advanced roads and make it mandatory for constructions which extend longer life and durabilit Our Prime Minister and ministry looking this aspect very clearly to construct all highways by upgrading the same to superways and freeways in the near future.
Technologically, India is not lagging but controlled by the will of authorities as well as the cost of construction.
What are the major reasons for traffic conditions going wrong?
M N Sreehari: Several reasons contribute in our road condition for the dissatisfaction of road users in India, which includes bad and narrow road conditions, absence of effective and efficient mass transportation like metro, rail, mano rail, high capacity buses etc, absence of last mile connectivity for public transport/mass transport, increased travel time and delays due to traffic congestion, poor coordination of signal system, and absence of vehicle actuated or vehicle activated signals, inadequate or almost negligible use of intelligent transportation systems (ITS), absence of road safety and increased accidents, improper and inadequate sign and signages, road rage, impatience of drivers, not following the road discipline, inadequate number of traffic police bad vehicle condition and maintenance with increased pollution levels, road side friction and obstructions, absence of quality pedestrian footpaths or sidewalks, improper maintenance of road side trees and drainages, improper and unscientific formation of junctions without any designs, constructing grade separators along narrow road network thus creating adverse traffic scenario, unscientific introduction of one way systems etc, absence of parking policy and haphazard road side parking which reduces the capacity of the road from 1/3 rd to 2/3 rd, absence of road side markings, sign boards etc, the uncontrolled registration of vehicles and not following whether the roads can take the traffic density or not, road pricing or taxing are not practiced to curb the exponential growth of vehicles, poor maintenance public vehicles, poor vehicle occupancy along IT corridors etc.
What are the reasons why transport experts are urging Bengalureans to opt for public transport? How is this going to de-congest roads, especially in high-traffic zones during peak hours?
M N Sreehari: Bangalore is grown/growing in an exponential way mostly haphazardly, radially, as well as circumferentially without any control which results in migration of people and the growth of vehicles (every day about 4000 vehicles are registered).
In order to mitigate the above said problems if not completely or say partially, Bangalore requires more ring roads, radial roads as well as grid iron pattern roads between radial roads. The hierarchy of roads likes arterial roads (for every 5 km spacing), sub-arterial roads (for every 2 km spacing), local streets and collector streets (for every 500m and 50m respectively).
This leads to formation of greater Bangalore creation after leaving a radial green belt of min 2 kms from the existing periphery of Bangalore rather than simply acquiring surrounding villages and town municipalities and calling it as greater Bangalore.
This needs first constructing the roads and other infrastructure and later the site allocations, but now the sites are allocated first by the development authorities and importance to road network and connectivity in sidelined.
Constructing a grade separator may help temporarily the clogged or congested junctions but pushes the problems to the next junction. Planners should seriously think this aspect and authorities must take the suggestions and recommendations seriously. In order to decongest to peak hour introduction of more and more metro connectivities which are well supported by feeder system like Mano rail, Bus and other intermediate public transportation that is Multimodal integrated transport service for sustainability should be practiced.
The peak hour’s traffic is a very common problem in India as all cities which are developed by CBD concepts rather than distribution of direction oriented trips that is in Bangalore all IT corridors are constructed along specifically towards East and South direction rather than west direction.
What suggestions do you have to manage chaotic traffic conditions?
M N Sreehari:
• As said earlier, Bangalore requires multimodal transportation system for sustainability.
• Constructing multi level car parking for every BBMP wards similar to Indira canteens, utilising the
underground space of parks for parking and charging from the beneficiaries without sacrificing any green.
• Removal of road side parking to enhance the parking capabilities.
• Introduction of road pricing or congestion tax with the help of satellites.
• To develop last mile connectivity from and to mass transportation network.
• Staggering the timings of schools, Industries and other work centers and introducing Wi-Fi connected Volvo
bus transportation to all IT corridors.
• Installing vehicle actuated signals to reduce the Queue length, road marking, sign and Signages,
installation cameras for enforcement, traffic control and regulation.
• An incentive for people commuting by public transport by subsides.
• Use of environment pollution less vehicles like solar or electric Buses and other vehicles, control on
registration of vehicles are some of the system must be implemented to the policy decisions.
What are the major infrastructure projects in Bangalore?
M N Sreehari: The ongoing Metro expansion must be constructed on priority with adequate provision of funds from state and central. Major projects must be taken up under special purpose vehicle act to minimize the delays caused due to land acquisition and people non co-operation.Number of traffic controlled camera, high speed detection of license plate recognition is to be in place. Construction of transportation management centers and transportation hubs are in pipeline.
However, the suggestions and recommendations listed above will help the government to see that Bangalore will attain the earlier glory and become paradise for all people.
“We are looking at airports not just as infrastructure projects but as growth engines”
VC & MD,
Maharashtra Airport Development Authority (MADC) is working to formulate an aviation policy for the state. Suresh Kakani, VC & MD, MADC, outlines the flight plan to CT.
What is the vision for the development of Maharashtra’s airports?
Suresh Kakani: The vision is that after every 50 km, there should be an airport, heliport or helipad. We are looking at airports not just as infrastructure projects but as growth engines for an area. Take the case of Nagpur. Since the airport and other industrial areas are well connected with each other, once the airport is developed, the growth will increase by leaps and bounds. Second, the overall aviation sector in India is growing at a rate of 17-18 per cent and if the facilities are in place, this growth will accelerate even further. Hence, we are in the process of formulating a civil aviation policy for the state. Though it is the federal government’s initiative and a central subject, however, we are trying to put policies in place so that every 50 km, we could have eithera helipad, heliport or an airport. For instance, if there is an emergency situation, such a facility should be in place to take care of it. Since the entire state would be well-connected through aerial routes, this will be a growth engine for that region and for the state as a whole.
This policy is being taken up at the state level?
Suresh Kakani: Yes, this policy will be issued by the state government because it is not our prerogative within MADC. However, we are in the process of appointing a consultant for forming a civil aviation policy for the state. Once this is final at our level, we will be submitting it to the government for approval and the government will declare this as a state government policy.
When will you get in a consultant?
Suresh Kakani: In about a month’s time, we should have the consultant in place.
You mentioned Nagpur airport. Tell us the cost and about the expansion plan here.
Suresh Kakani: This is a Rs 1,685 crore project. We have issued the request for proposal (RFP) one and a half months ago. The process is as per schedule and there are five bidders. We will accept the financial bids soon. Whoever emerges as the highest bidder, we will award the project based on revenue share. The winning bidder will take up the project on a design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) model. The entire process should be complete within a month or so from now. As per our timetable, August 14 is the deadline to take a decision. Once awarded, the first phase of the project has to be completed in four years. With the addition of the new terminal building, the capacity will increase to a total of 25 lakh passengers from 10 lakh at the moment. Last year, we have operated at 21 lakh passengers so we are already at twice the capacity. We are targeting 80 lakh over the completion of all the phases.
What are the traffic estimates?
Suresh Kakani: We have E&Y as our consultant for preparing the documents and providing the passenger traffic and cargo estimates. Passenger traffic will reach 60 lakh as per their study. This has been growing at a rate of 18 per cent per annum. This is a phenomenal growth but we are considering 11 to 12 per cent growth rate because once you reach the peak, the pace of growth tapers down. We are targeting a higher growth for cargo since this potential is untapped. Once the capacity is in place, cargo movement will increase by more than 15 per cent.
You have also sent a proposal to Airports Authority of India (AAI) for the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS). How do you plan to develop these airports?
Suresh Kakani: Pune is not in the RCS, or UDAAN scheme. The other ten airports are either owned by us or owned by some other agencies like AAI, Indian Coast Guard or private parties. We have indicated to them that if they are declared as RCS or airports under UDAAN, we will provide them necessary support, be it financial, contribution of viability gap funding (VGF), free fire security, airport security, electricity and water at concessional rates, or contributing in the VGF. All this support would be extended once those airports come under RCS.
How about the airlines? Is there enough interest to fly these routes?
Suresh Kakani: Of course, it is process. The first stage is to declare the airports as RCS or probable RCS and then declare the routes. The routes would then be tendered and if the private parties show interest, then they can be operational. If the government of India does not get any bidder, it will not be operational. Before the bidding, we have to keep ready all the infrastructure so that once the routes are awarded to an airline, flights should start operating from those airports. Some routes are yet to be tendered. Before issuing the tender, I can’t really say the response is weak because in the second round of bidding, some of the airports have got very good response, like Nashik airport has got a very good response.
You are also acquiring land around the proposed greenfield Purandar airport for Pune as the Special Planning Authority (SPA). What are the developments here?
Suresh Kakani: Unless we notify the outer boundary of the SPA area, we can’t really go ahead with the land acquisition. We are awaiting the notification to be published. Our dialogue with the local administration is going on and the formalities which need to be completed before moving ahead is also under process. Unless the notification comes, it will be difficult to comment more on this. The first agency as far as the planning proposal is concerned is Collector through the Directorate of Town Planning. Second is the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA). Out of seven villages, three villages are under the PMRDA. This is the second agency and we would be the third. Fortunately for us, PMRDA has expressed that they have no objection to delete those three villages and have it included in the SPA area as per our request.
Your status as SPA would only be specific to this place?
Suresh Kakani: Yes. However, we can ask for particular SPA for other airports as well. We are the SPA for Shirdi and Nagpur but for seven more airports, we can also ask for ourselves to be declared as the SPA of that region.
Would you be doing that?
Suresh Kakani: Yes. While the airport itself is a technical thing, the area around the airport has to be developed in a systematic manner. One is supposed to construct a building having a specific height, beyond which you are not supposed to go ahead. Hence, this has to be regulated around the airport, and so it will be mandatory for us to declare ourselves as SPA, making it easier to regulate as well as facilitate the development in and around the airport.