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100 cities million opportunities

The Centre’s Smart City Mission means big business for companies in the housing, energy and transport segments. We shortlist likely winners

“The future of India lies in its villages,” said Mahatma Gandhi. Self-reliant villages formed a sound basis for just, equitable and non-violent order, he believed. Decades later, his ardent follower Narendra Modi thinks otherwise. He is pinning hopes on building a better India through ‘smarter’ urban cities.

About 25-30 people are expected to migrate every minute from the rural areas to the cities in search of better livelihood and lifestyles. By 2050, about 843 million people are expected to reside in the urban areas — accounting for about 50 per cent of the overall population.

The Smart City Mission of the Centre is part of the overall game plan to accommodate the massive urbanisation that is expected in the future — by modernising the existing mid-sized cities.

What is a smart city?
‘Smart City’ is a relatively new concept. While there is no specific way to define it, the most popular is from Frost and Sullivan. The research and consulting company defines Smart Cities as those built on smart and intelligent solutions and technology that lead to at least five of the following smart objectives — smart energy, smart building, smart mobility, smart healthcare, smart infrastructure, smart technology, smart governance, smart education and smart citizen.

Smart energy, for instance, could be introduced using digital technology for optimal management of demand-supply situations or theft detection. Smart building, in turn, controls aspects such as lighting and temperature in an energy-efficient way through automated infrastructure.

As recently as in 2011, there were no smart cities in the world. However, there will be 26 of them by 2026, according to Frost and Sullivan estimates. Beijing, Tokyo, Singapore, Sydney and Amsterdam will be among them, while there will be none from India. Yes, you read it right, none.

Indian cities have got a long way to go before they qualify as ‘Smart Cities’; may be another 15-20 years. The Indian government’s Smart City Mission (SCM), which is essentially a five-year game plan, is actually just one baby step towards forming Smart Cities in the real sense.

However, the good news is that the SCM is already gathering steam. Round 3 of the “competition”, as it is called — which recently invited proposals from various cities – will soon short-list 40 more cities,taking the overall tally to 100 cities.

Investment boom
The Centre proposes to develop 100 smart cities over the next five years with overall budgetary plan of about ₹1,00,000 crore. It will be investing ₹100 crore every year for the next five years in each of the short-listed 100 cities.

Additionally, it will spend nearly ₹50,000 crore under the AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) scheme over the next five years.

Its investments — which are just the tip of the iceberg — will be routed through special purpose vehicles (SPV), floated in each of these cities. On an average, it currently holds about 20 per cent in such SPVs, for the 60 short-listed cities.

Another 80 per cent of funding will come from the State government, PPP (Public Private Partnership), existing Central or State schemes, loans and other sources. In all, about ₹5,00,000 crore of project investments is expected from SCM, according to Jones Lang Lasalle — opening a door of big opportunity for the private sector.

Most of the projects, about 85 per cent, are area-centred projects. They focus on local area issues instead of implementing it throughout the city. As per the Ministry of Urban Development, ₹1,30,000 crore worth of projects have been awarded and are invarious stages of implementation.

A cursory look at the project plans of 60 cities shows that the plan content varies drastically with the needs of cities. For instance, in Ahmedabad, it’s largely about township development, while NDMC (New Delhi Municipal Corporation) fixes the niggling power issues. While Pune focusses on transport, Raipur looks toward developing local market.

Moreover, while some are greenfield projects, others are retrofits. However, there is some method in the madness. Basic amenities such as housing, water, electricity, transport as well as infrastructure remain the major focus. For the sake of analysis, we will classify projects into housing, transport, energy, technology & infrastructure and water & waste management.

For the benefit of investors, we have looked at the nature of SCM projects in major cities and identified listed entities that could benefit from it.

Housing is the biggest opportunity emanating from SCM. For cities of Surat, Ahmedabad, Thane, Indore, Bhopal, Jabalpur and Bhubaneshwar, it is the single largest project. However, the nature of projects differs. While in places like Surat, the focus is on affordable housing, in Indore, it is about slum redevelopment.

The relatively better-off cities of Ahmedabad and Thane focus more on township development to accommodate more people into the city. In Chandigarh, it’s a mixed bag with about ₹4,000 crore going towards property development — residential, office, retail and hospitality.

With 40 more cities expected to get qualified for Smart City funding, the opportunity for residential housing is huge. Moreover, improved urbanisation will result in more people moving into the city, triggering demand for more houses.

Moreover, the ‘satellite towns’ around these Smart Cities will be a good opportunity to develop affordable housing. With the recent Budget doling out ‘infrastructure status’ to affordable housing projects, many real estate players are jumping on the bandwagon.

Godrej Properties is our preferred choice in this segment. It has pan-India presence and has developed properties in many of the Smart Cities, including Ahmedabad, Kalyan-Dombivali and Thane.

Moreover, it is looking at affordable housing projects, which could benefit from SCM initiatives. Not the least, with a reputed brand name and good execution skills, it has the capability to bag key SCM projects.

Many of the cities have taken up energy-based projects in a big way to address power shortages. NDMC is looking at spending about ₹1,500 crore in building smart grid for efficient energy management. It is also investing into alternate energy by building 40-MW solar power plants at a cost of ₹430 crore.

Belagavi (erstwhile Belgaum) is also betting big on alternative energy. It is investing about ₹200 crore each into solar rooftop panelling and wind power generation to generate power of 30 MW each.

It also plans to lay underground cables worth ₹300 crore and install smart meters to ensure two-way communication between the meter and the central system — for efficient monitoring and billing. About 131 million smart meters are to be installed across the country by 2021, according to Government estimates.

Many of the cities, including Raipur, are installing SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition), which will gather data in real time from remote locations to enable central control of equipment and monitoring of conditions. Relatively better-off Chennai is looking at cutting power costs by installing street light monitoring system (worth ₹250 crore) across the city.

Siemens and Honeywell Automation are our recommended bets in the energy space. Siemens is a global player in building smart cities over the last 10 years, with New York and Vienna being prime examples. It has already floated a consortium with global technology vendors to bid for Smart City projects in India. Moreover, it is business as usual for the company. Under the R-APDRP (Restructured-Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme) of the Government of India, Siemens has been installing Smart Grid solutions in several cities in India for many years now.

Honeywell Automation, which globally earns half of its revenue from energy-efficient products and related activities, is another player that is expected to benefit from SCM projects relating to energy. Opportunities in energy are diverse — from service and asset management, software development and installation of equipment. These two players, with diverse experience, are better poised to bag the opportunity.

Transport is another big focus area for many cities, including Pune, Raipur, Thane and Great Warangal. SCM projects relating to transport broadly address issues of high travel demand, last-mile connectivity, traffic management and transit. Investments into development of back-bone infrastructure and transport systems are also common.

Pune is looking at faster transit by investing ₹210 crore into BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), while another ₹500 crore goes towards developing back-bone infrastructure. It is investing heavily towards roads and road widening as well as into buying of 100 electric buses.

Thane, on the other hand, is looking at launching a new railway station, improving road junctions as well as providing multi-modal facilities at various junctions in the city. Great Warangal, in turn, is looking at redevelopment of state bus stands and multi-level parking.

Also, to reduce the carbon footprint, many cities are introducing electric rickshaws (e-rickshaws). As against the regular autorickshaws that run on CNG or petrol, e-rickshaws will be powered by batteries charged from solar power.

Also, the focus is to manage high travel demand by promoting non-motorised transport (NMT) by making footpaths and spaces for riding bicycles. Coimbatore, for instance, is investing ₹50 crore in the bicycle sharing system. Chennai and Bhubaneshwar are investing heavily into intelligent traffic management system. This will monitor and regulate traffic on a real-time basis using video surveillance and incidence management and simulations.

Some of the offbeat beneficiaries of this could be the bicycle manufacturers. In Singapore, already, people cycle their way to nearby railway stations and neighbourhood centres, which is the way forward for aspiring Smart Cities. Players such as Atlas Cycles and Tube Investments are well-entrenched in the bicycle market.

Water and Waste management
Smart waste management could be classified as that relating to waste handling, its sorting and segregation, transportation and its disposal. Sensor-based collection, for instance, helps identify the status of bins and optimise pick-up routes and schedules. Automated waste collection systems, in turn, reduce the need for manpower.

Indian cities going the smart way are focussing either on waste handling or its intelligent transportation. Lucknow, for instance, is spending about ₹300 crore towards sewerage lines while Bhagalpur invests another ₹120 crore towards building an underground sewerage system. Many others are going for RFID tagging of waste collection vehicles while cities such as Kanpur are spending a little bit on building public toilets.

In the case of water, SCM project opportunities could be from building water sources, its storage and purification, distribution and its discharge & treatment. Smart water metersinstalled at the consumer level will help detect usage levels and price it according to the extent of usage. A ghost pipe detection systemwill detect theft.

NDMC is spending about ₹200 crore towards water and waste-water management, while Kanpur is investing ₹70 crore towards water metering and strengthening of its existing water supply network.

Many of the smart cities are also building infrastructure to manage storm water, rain water harvesting as well as lake rejuvenation. Thane, for instance, is spending ₹240 crore towards lake and waterfront development, while Faridabad is spending ₹45 towards revitalising its Badkhal lake.

Thermax, which provides water and waste-water treatment plants including recycling, is expected to be a major beneficiary from the above mentioned projects. VA Tech Wabag, a market leader in water treatment solutions in industrial water, desalination as well as waste and drinking water, is another of our favourites.

Technology and Infrastructure
ICT (information and communications technology) plays a critical role in the building of Smart cities. According to Nasscom estimates, anywhere from 10 to 15 per cent of the total project investments or about $30-40 billion is the opportunity for software companies over the next five years.

For instance, in the case of citizen services, technology plays an integral role by providing access to online citizen engagement and participatory process. Provision of Wi-Fi services at public places and online service delivery are other ways. Moreover, ICT plays a key role in improving city governance by building city command and operations centres. Many of the cities have lined up huge investments in this space.

Since software development is crucial for remotely controlling water and power systems, NIIT Technologies is our favourite in this space with its specialities in digital analytics and infrastructure management services. It recently launched ‘geodesign’ , a Geographic Information System framework for planning smart cities in India. For more details on NIIT Technologies, see ‘Firm Calls’ page.

Jabalpur and many other cities are looking at significant investment in optic-fibre cable. Electricity companies also extensively use optical fibre cables for monitoring and control purposes. Sterlite Technologies, which has a 40 per cent market share in the domestic optic fibre/cable space, is expected to benefit from such projects.

Infrastructure is another big opportunity that involves diverse activities — road and flyover building, development of city centre, lake development, river bridges and so on.

NBCC, the only public sector Infrastructure player, is expected to be a major beneficiary, eyeing 15-20 of the 100 smart city projects in the country. Over the next five years, it is expected to increase its order book levels to ₹1,00,000 crore (it is ₹70,000 crore today), growing its revenues at the rate of 25-30 per cent annually. Moreover, players like Siemens and Larsen & Toubro too are expected to benefit from a range of infrastructure-based projects.

What is it?

Smart energy : Using digital technology to reduce power losses, optimally manage demand-supply and improve asset utilisation.

Smart mobility (Transport) : Multimodal fare integration, predective analytics for efficient traffic management and NMT adoption to reduce carbon footprint.

Smart building (Housing) : Green an energy efficient buildingswith advanced automated infrastructure to control and manage aspects such as lightining and temperature.

Smart technology : Connecting homes and offices on a single wireless IT platform including adoption of high-speed broadband and smart grids.

Smart infrastructure : (Water and Waste Management) Automated systems (RFID) to plan routes for garbage picking and measure air quality. Sensors to detect water leakages and smart meters to monitor usage and water quality.


Category : Smart City

BusinessLine 03/04/2017

Types of Curves

There are two types of curves provided primarily for the comfort and ease of the motorists in the road namely:
Horizontal Curve
Vertical Curve

Horizontal Curves: 

Horizontal curves are provided to change the direction or alignment of a road. Horizontal Curve are circular curves or circular arcs. The sharpness of a curve increases as the radius is decrease which makes it risky and dangerous. The main design criterion of a horizontal curve is the provision of an adequate safe stopping sight distance.

Types of Horizontal Curve:

Simple Curve: A simple arc provided in the road to impose a curve between the two straight lines.

Compound Curve: Combination of two simple curves combined together to curve in the same direction.

Reverse Curve: Combination of two simple curves combined together to curve in the same direction.

Transition or Spiral Curve:  A curve that has a varying radius. Its provided with a simple curve and between the simple curves in a compound curve. While turning a vehicle is exposed to two forces. The first force which attracts the vehicle towards the ground is gravity. The second is centripetal force, which is an external force required to keep the vehicle on a curved path. At any velocity, the centripetal force would be greater for a tighter turn (smaller radius) than a broader one (larger radius). Thus, the vehicle would have to make a very wide circle in order to negotiate a turn. This issue is encountered when providing horizontal curves by designing roads that are tilted at a slight angle thus providing ease and comfort to the driver while turning. This phenomenon is defined as super elevation, which is the amount of rise seen on a given cross-section of a turning road, it is otherwise known as slope.

Vertical Curves:

Vertical curves are provided to change the slope in the road and may or may not. be symmetrical. They are parabolic and not circular like horizontal curves. Identifying the proper grade and the safe passing sight distance is the main design criterion of the vertical curve, iln crest vertical curve the length should be enough to provide safe stopping sight distance and in sag vertical curve the length is important as it influences the factors such as headlight sight distance, rider comfort and drainage requirements.

Types of Vertical Curve:

Sag Curve : Sag Curves are those which change the alignment of the road from uphill to downhill,
Crest Curve/Summit Curve : Crest Curves are those which change the alignment of the road from downhill to uphill. In designing crest vertical curves it is important that the grades be not] too high which makes it difficult for the motorists to travel upon it.

Dr. Srinivasin

Some useful abbrivations and info

RFI = request for information
CRFI = contractor request for inspection
MIR = material inspection request
IFC = issue for construction
EI = engineer instruction
SD = shop drawing
ASBD = as built drawing
JSI = job site instruction
ITP = inspection test plan
PAC = provisional acceptance certificate
FAC = final acceptance certificate
ITL = Independent Testing Laboratory
CPI = cost performance index
LPO = local purchase order
ITP =  inspection test plan
TPI = Third party inspection
LOI = letter of intent
C.O = confirmation order
MAS = Material approval submittal
L/C = letter of credit
CDC = current date cheque
PDC = post dated cheque
IP = Inspection Plan
TSR = Test Sample Request
WR = Work Request
MIV = Material Issue Voucher
SMR = site material requisition
FIN = Field Inspection Notice
ITP = Inspection and Test Plans
P & ID = Piping and instrumentation diagram
NCR = non conformance report.
RFI = Request for information.
CL = Check list or IR = Inspection request.
MDN = material delivery note.
JSI = Job site instructions.
SR = Safety report.
Tr = Transmittal.
TCS = technical comparison sheet.
CCS = Cost comparison sheet
QA/QC = Quality Assurance Quality Control
QS = Quantity surveyor
BOQ = Bill Of Quantity
LOI = Letter Of Intent
PQP = Project quality plan
ITP = Inspection test plan
HSEP = Health safety and environment plan
JV = Join venture
PB = Performance bond
TB = Tender bond
CAR = Contractor all risk
RFMA = Request for material approval
RFQ = Request for quotation
RFV = Request for variation
VO = Variation order
SF = Submittal form
TQ = Technical query
DSR = Daily site report
MOM = Minutes of meeting
SWI = Site work instructions
PMI = Project manager instructions
RAS = Request for alternatives or substitution
MDC = Material deliveries checklist
RFI = Request for inspection
NCR = Non conformance report
SVN = Safety Violation notice

Dr. Srinivasin

Old Thermal Plants may Power up Scrap Business:

KOLKATA: India's ageing thermal power plants could mean good times for companies in the dismantling business.

About half of the country's thermal power plants—which collectively account for almost 30% of total installed capacity—are over 25 years old, and a large number of them are fast approaching 40, which is considered the end of their useful life span. Beyond this they will necessarily need to be scrapped, opening up a market for effective disposal of these plants.

"In fact, 188 thermal power plants out of a total 396 are more than 25 years old. They have a total installed capacity of about 56 GW, out of a total installed capacity of 188 GW. A large number of these plants would be scrapped," said Ashok Khurana, director general of the Association of Power Producers.

According to experts, generation capabilities of a thermal power plant reduce by about 40% after surpassing the operational age of 25 years. Requirement of coal also keeps increasing, thereby calling for de-rating of such plants.

"All these 25-year-old plants were built with technology that took care of pollution norms prevalent at that time. However, norms have turned stricter and these old plants need to spend more on adhering to norms. If they undertake renovation and modernization, tariffs also increase, as the additional costs need to be passed on," the executive said.

The need for shuttering old plants has opened up a large market for decommissioning and effective disposal, similar to the ship-breaking industry. Companies like mjunction and MSTC have stepped in to grab a chunk of this market.

"The service requires onsite inspection, inventorying, segregation and estimation. All of which culminate into an online sale to qualified and credible buyers which fetches the optimum price for the power plant," an executive of mjunction said.

Vinaya Varma, mjunction's CEO, said, "Our focus is on transparency and price discovery of such assets, which are not only economically unviable but also a hazard for the environment."

An executive from a power plant said, "Considering that we need working capital to expand our operations, it is imperative that we sell our defunct units and scrap at a competitive price in the shortest possible time."

Getting rid of the plant includes segregation of scrap, assets that can be refurbished, unused assets and hazardous items. It also involves inventorying the assets and sorting them by type and use. The inspection and estimation process is followed by devising selling strategies. Recently, mjunction offered valuation and estimation service to a power utility company to sell its 4x120 MW decommissioned thermal power plant by recognizing the value of the plant and assets.

Category: Disposal Assets

ET 17/03/2017

Whirlwind effect: How eco-friendly are windmills?

‘Turbines in Koppal, Chitradurga and Bagalkot have played havoc on habitats’ 

Spinning turbines atop rocky hills in Karnataka, which have become symbols of the State’s pitch for “greener sources” of electricity, may have come at a price to forests and its denizens.

A little over 6,870 acres of forest land has made way for wind farms and associated infrastructure, including transmission lines and roads in Karnataka, shows Forest Clearance data obtained from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoeF). The demand continues as the last two years has seen proposals – in various stages of approval – for further diversion of 1,612 acres of forest land for windmills.

Much of these are set up in the hill ranges of Kappatagudda, which is embroiled in a controversy regarding its conservation tag, in Gadag district and Jogimatti of Chitradurga district. And, it is here that the Karnataka Forest Department has commissioned a study, for the first time, to report on the year-long comprehensive study on the impact of wind turbines.

“There are reports of bird deaths and other effects on avian fauna abroad owing to the windmills. We wanted to specifically study the impact here, particularly considering that Chitradurga is saturated with windmills,” said Anur Reddy, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Forest Clearance).

The 18-month study, conducted by researchers from Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History in Coimbatore, is expected to be completed by year-end.

H.N. Kumara, senior scientist who is heading the study, said: “Windmills come up in wind funnels (where winds have high speeds), which are also used by migratory birds as a cruising path. Similarly, the noise and vibrations may affect larger mammals, leading to conflict. Even if no impact is found, the study will clear up doubts and give clarity.”

However, activists believe the effects of windmills are plain to see. Indrajit Ghorpade, who runs Deccan Conservation Foundation that focusses on conservation in scrub forests, says turbines in the hillocks of Koppal, Chitradurga and Bagalkot have played “havoc” on habitats of many species. “These mills have seen population of spotted deer, hyenas, chinkaras, blackbucks, and wolves decline owing to habitat loss. Now, we don’t see wolves close to windmills,” he said.


Wind power generating firms under the scanner

With forest fires keeping officials on their toes, a wary eye has been kept on transmission lines that criss-cross Kappatagudda hills.

Forest officials allege that one of the four cases of forest fire recorded in the past week is linked to sparks emitting from a transmission line in the the area. They have filed a case under Section 24 C(I) of the Karnataka Forest Act against a major wind power generating firms, while instructing firms to take safety precautions.

There are 240 windmills operating from the forest area in the Kappatagudda forest range, maintained by three different companies. Chief Conservator of Forests Krishna Udapudi said directions had been issued to the representatives of the three companies about building fire lines in their areas of operation. “We have also asked them to create a clean zone of 10-metre width on either side of the power transmission lines so that there is no burning material in the area that may cause the fire to spread,” he said.

Erecting barricades around the transformers, maintaining vigil over vehicles were some of the other directions issued.

Twirling trouble in forests

* Forest lands diverted since 1993 : 6,870.5 acres.

* Lands pending for approval : 1,612.4 acres.

* Total commissioned capacity (forest and non-forest land) : 3,241.44 MW.

Areas with commissioned Wind Projects

* Gadag (including Kappatagudda and surrounding areas) : 278 projects.

* Chitradurga (Jogimatti and surrounding areas) : 274.

* Davanagere : 69.

* Total in Karnataka : 893.


The Hindu 08/03/2017

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