New Delhi: “In the hindsight, when I look back at the 32 years of life that I have spent with NBCC, there has not been a single day when I didn’t want to come to work here, because I loved my job, I loved NBCC, and I have enjoyed every bit working with the company. What a blessing it is to be able to say that!” exults Agarwal on being asked about his experience with the Navratna PSU. He is proud of the fact that he headed the company’s strategic redevelopment projects that gave a whole new identity to NBCC.
NBCC’s senior executive director Raman Agarwal is superannuating after 32 years of service on November 30. PSU Watch reached out to him to explore the contours of all the years Agarwal has spent with NBCC.
The beginning of Agarwal’s stint with NBCC in 1988
Agarwal hails from Haryana and says he always wanted to become an engineer because, during those times of former Haryana Chief Minister Chaudhary Banshilal, civil engineering was the most prestigious thing to do. However, the job at NBCC was not Agarwal’s first. After finishing BSc Civil engineering from REC Kurukshetra (which is presently called NIT Kurukshetra) in 1983, he landed a job with a private construction firm. After spending five years with the company, he joined NBCC in 1988. “Imagine the journey, a company that had a turnover of merely Rs 100 crore is now a Navratna with over Rs 7,000 crore turnover,” says an emotional Agarwal.
The most challenging project of Agarwal’s career
“After joining NBCC, the first assignment that I was engaged with was the Wazirabad water treatment plant. It was completed in 1991. Then 100 MGD WTP of Hyderpur came my way, which was completed in 1994-95. After that came NDCC (New Delhi City Centre) and 78 MLD Agra STP. And then came the assignment that I recount till date as the most difficult assignment of my career in terms of technical challenges. In 1999-2000, we started the work on 270-cusec raw-water pipeline from Muradnagar (UP) to Sonia Vihar (Delhi), which was a pipeline for Ganga water supply in the area,” says Agarwal.
“Around 90 percent of the pipeline is underground and crosses the densely-populated areas of both Delhi and UP. It crosses river Hindon as well as all the big nullahs of Delhi. Imagine how difficult it would have been to set-up a pipeline of 11-feet diameter through which a whole TATA Sumo car can pass,” remarks Agarwal. NBCC had used open-pit technology and cast-in-place concrete for the project. The entire team barely had a good night’s sleep until the pipeline was commissioned and the water reached Sonia Vihar. The 30-km-long raw water conduit, costing Rs 87 crore, was built by NBCC for the Delhi Jal Board (DJB).
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After that, under the aegis of NBCC, Agarwal completed various defence housing projects in Rajasthan. Then he was shifted to Tripura for the construction of roads under PM Gramin Sadak Yojna. This was in 2007-08. The project involved the construction of roads up to the Bangladesh border. Then Agarwal was selected to execute the project that turned out to be the most prestigious project for NBCC — the redevelopment of GPRA Moti Bagh. The sanction for the project was given by the then UPA government in 2007. Work on the complex started in December of the same year and was completed in 2012. However, till date, the upkeep and maintenance of the project is his responsibility. “I was engaged with the project in 2009. Senior-most civil servants, Judges, and a few politicians reside in the high-security and low-density residential colony. And then afterwards, I oversaw the completion of the highly successful redevelopment project of Kidwai Nagar at a project cost of Rs 4,500 crore,” remarks Agarwal.
When NBCC took over the construction of unfinished Amrapali housing projects
“I was finally shifted to Amrapali housing projects which is unique in itself and the first-of-its-kind experiment by the Supreme Court of India. NBCC is completing the left-over construction of Amrapali houses under the supervision of the Supreme Court. In a way, I would say it is the most challenging project so far because here, we have 40,000 clients and we have to satisfy each one of them. They call us up to discuss their issues and ask questions and we have to attend to them,” explains Agarwal. Out of the total 40,000 houses valued at Rs 8,000 crore, NBCC has started the work on 36,000 houses.
“I am lucky to see this day. I have given 32 years of my life to NBCC. At this moment, I am of full of gratitude towards the company, my team and the people I have worked with,” sums up a rather emotional Agarwal.
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