Guru Gobind Singh (Bhatinda)
Concept to commissioning
– a twelve year long journey
The twelve year journey of Guru Gobind Singh Refinery from early 2000, when HPCL
announced its intention to set up a green field refinery in Punjab to 28 April 2012,
when Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, dedicated the project to the nation,
was a bit long by any yardstick for a 9 million tonne refinery.
The project involved construction of 9 million tonne refinery, crude oil storage
tanks, a pipeline between Mundra and Bhatinda and 250 km pipeline between Bhatinda
HPCL proposed to set up the green field refinery originally in early 2000 with Aramco
of Saudi Arabia. When Aramco discontinued its association with the project, HPCL
roped in Exxon Corpn of the USA. Later in early 1999, Exxon also withdrew from the
project believing that following the plans of Reliance and Essar Oil to expand their
refining capacities, the viablity of HPCL refinery looks dim. Citing the same reasons,
ONGC also refused to partner with HPCL. The agreement signed with British Petrolem
in Oct 2005 fell apart as BP also withdrew from the project.
HPCL started ground work on the refinery in early 2000. By August 2006, the project
cost jumped up from 9,082 crore to Rs 15,072 crore. In March 2007, L N Mittal signed
an MoU with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation for equity partnership hold a 49 per
cent stake, while HPCL hold 49 per cent stake and remaining two per cent will be
held by financial institutions.
"HPCL Mittal Energy Ltd. (HMEL) is a good platform to grow (in energy space)," Mittal said at the time of inauguration. He further added that "I am not ready for my guys to think loud" before the refinery stabilises in a year’s time. Adding a low-cost expansion of existing units to raise refining capacity to 11.2 million tonnes would be considered after that.”
Bandra – Worli Sea Link
An engineering marvel built
with 5 years delay and 430% hike in cost!
Seshadri Srinivasan with his design of the Sea Link
Bandra-Worli Sea Link
While China completed seven sea-links in six years, it took India 10 years to complete
its first sea-link project in Mumbai. Nevertheless, it is considered as one of the
engineering marvels of post-independence era.
The 5.6 km long sea link project was commissioned by the Maharashtra State Road
Development Corporation Limited (MSRDC) and the EPC contract was executed by the
Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), with project management led by Dar Al-Handasah,
UK. The foundation stone was laid by Bal Thackeray, the Shiv Sena chief in 1999.
When the construction began in 2000, the bridge was expected to be completed by
2005 at a cost of Rs 300 crore. However, when fully completed in March 2010, the
project saw a time over run of 5 years and a cost over-run of a whopping 430 per
cent (from Rs 300 crore to Rs 1600 crore).
Plagued by a series of public interest litigations from fishermen and environmentalists,
the work on the project could not take off till October 2004. The agitations also
forced MSRDC to make drastic changes in the design of the bridge.
The Sea Link, also known as the Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link, is a cable-stayed bridge
with pre-stressed concrete-steel viaducts on either side. While the first four of
the eight lanes of the bridge were opened to the public on 30 June 2009, the balance
four lanes were opened on 24 March 2010. The bridge reduces travel time between
Bandra and Worli during peak hours from 60–90 minutes to around seven minutes.
The sea link was designed as the first cable-stayed bridge to be constructed in
open seas in India. The superstructure of the viaducts were the heaviest precast
segments to be built in India. The foundations for the cable-stayed bridges consist
of 120 reinforced concrete piles of 6.6 feet diameter. Those for the viaducts consist
of 484 piles of 4.9 feet.
The credit for designing the Bandra-Worli Sea link is ascribed to Seshadri Srinivasan,
a bridge designer in the UK based consultant firm, Dar Al-Handsah. Srinivasan is
credited with the design of the JJ Flyover in Mumbai.
Srinivasan mentioned that “Initially, it was a single tower, which would carry both decks on a single support. Then, when plans changed to the present-day two towers, the design got simplified. But this meant more expenditure, resources and spending more time on the project.”