Anoop Kumar Mittal, a civil engineer from Thapar Institute of Engineering & Technology, Punjab, is the 16th Chairmancum- Managing Director (CMD) of NBCC and is responsible for overseeing policy and strategic decision-making of the company. His career at NBCC spans over 30 years.
Under Mittal’s leadership, NBCC has adopted innovation in construction processes while developing sustainable residential, commercial, institutional and office projects while also nearly doubling its turnover.
In an interview to PRASHANT MUKHERJEE, he spoke about the environment and how he is finding different ways to replant trees for construction and achieving greater heights for the company in terms of revenue. Excerpts:
Q: The Supreme Court order notwithstanding, is NBCC really interested in taking up projects from developers such as Jaypee, Amrapali and Unitech?
A: Our interest is not to own these projects or companies, rather we want to be development managers or project management consultants. We are going to be selective in taking up projects.
Amrapali has told us that buyers have to pay some amount. Our team is also looking at it. We have to see how much money comes from home buyers and how much will be needed to complete the project, after which we will decide to take up a project.
If things move forward and if any agreement is signed, then Amrapali will continue to remain the promoter and will be responsible for any litigation.
They might even be asked to deposit unsold inventory with NBCC, which may be mortgaged to raise the project management consulting fees.
Q: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Delhi Legislative Assembly has stated in a report that NBCC committed ‘serious irregularities’ with respect to the felling of trees in the Capital. It stated that in Nauroji Nagar,1302 trees were felled and there was compensatory plantation conducted, whereas per law, 14,650 saplings should have been planted. How do you respond to that?
A : We have not received any communication. But I can say whatever is required will be done, according to law or permission. See now we are exploring the possibility of transplanting the trees, instead of cutting them and if required we will make changes in drawing and design also.
If construction needs to be done, we have to find different ways. If no construction is needed, then there is no need to cut trees.
We are the implementing agency and not the owner of the project. Since government has approved these projects and there are environmental issues, we are exploring different ways to complete the project.
Q: Do you foresee any cost overruns and delays in the project now?
A: There would not be any cost overruns, if there are it will be minuscule, but there would be some delay in the projects.
Q: What is the status of the Dharavi project in Mumbai. Unlike Kidwai Nagar in Delhi, it has far more challenges. Many local developers believe that NBCC is also scared to take up the project because of the uncertainties and severe challenges?
A: I have not heard anyone saying that we are scared to touch the project. It’s a government project. With the support of local government, we will be able to complete the project. As of now, NBCC has extended its services. The local government will have to consider now.
Q: What is the status of the Central government decision to sell land parcels of sick public sector enterprises to NBCC?
A: Under the ‘Housing for All’ scheme, NBCC will soon develop affordable housing projects on the land of sick public sector undertakings. We have identified one-two land parcels.
Some of the projects are under consideration and detailed project reports (DPR) are being prepared. Some land may also be sold to a private player which will build lowcost houses.
All these land parcels are very large areas. Along with affordable housing, some other housing infrastructure will also be developed. The total land area of the 10 CPSEs is estimated to be around 1,000 acres. If we find the model to be feasible and saleable then we will take up more projects.
Q: What happened to the plans for redevelopment of railway stations? How far have you moved on this?
A: One station, the Gomati Nagar Lucknow station, has already been started. There are 10 stations which have been assigned to us for redevelopment at the moment. The discussions are going on for many other stations also but first we thought of starting work on 4-5 stations.
Q: You have decided to enter the road segment. Why would you like to diversify into a space which is very competitive and dominated by the private sector?
A: We have been part of the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Yojana road project for the last 15 years. When the scheme was started we were the first agency roped in by Bihar government, after that we were involved by Jharkhand, Tripura, West Bengal and now Odisha also. We are not new in this space.
Wherever the state government is finding it difficult to get these projects implemented they take the help of NBCC. Actually, the visibility in large infrastructure projects had overshadowed our work in other projects like the first ever Delhi Metro project, Kolkata metro project and so on.
We have been doing border roads and fencing for the last 20 years. Almost Rs 1,000 crore of revenue is coming from this stream and that is again project management consultancy.
Q: What kind of revenue pick-up can one expect going ahead?
A: I think this year we should add another Rs 20,000 crore in order. As far as top and bottom line are concerned, we are expecting 25-30 per cent growth.
Q: What happened to the land of Air India in which NBCC was interested?
A: The land was identified but after that nothing much has moved. We have prepared the DPR.