‘Construction equipment industry on growth path again’

Bengaluru, Nov 24 (IANS) After three years of sluggish growth due to economic slump, the construction equipment industry is on growth path again to gather momentum, a top representative of the industry said on Tuesday.

“Coming out of three years of de-growth, the industry is stabilizing this year to gather momentum over the next two years, thanks to reforms and policy measures in the infrastructure sector,” Excon chairman and JCB India Ltd. chief executive Vipin Sondhi told reporters here.

Excon is a biennial expo of the earthmoving and construction equipment industry, whose eighth edition is being held this year from Wednesday at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) to showcase its products and technologies for stakeholders in core sectors of the economy, especially infrastructure.

“Initiatives of the new (central) government have made the macro parameters favourable to the industry. With the economy reviving and inflation under control, some reforms such as opening up the insurance and defence sectors for more FDI (foreign direct investment) will lead to more infrastructure projects requiring our equipment,” Sondhi said.

Recent decisions to allow the road transport and highways ministry to clear projects worth Rs.1,000 crore excluding the land cost, compensation for developers for delays by other stakeholders and allowing developers to exit a project after two years from the built-operate-transfer route will help the users of the industry’s equipment to fast track several projects that were held up for various reasons.

“Though de-growth has dipped our industry’s market size to $2.8 billion from over $3 billion three-four years ago when the GDP (gross domestic product) was growing at eight percent, we are setting a $5-billion target for 2020 in anticipating of huge investments in the core sectors of the economy, including infrastructure, which requires about $1 trillion,” Sondhi said.

Organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in partnership with Indian and overseas associations, the five-day South Asia’s largest international construction equipment and technology trade fair will focus on “Make India – Building Infrastructure, Building the Nation”.

To be flagged by Union Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari, the expo has attracted about 800 exhibitors, including 270 overseas firms.

Spread over 220,000 square meters of display area, the fair will witness launch of about 200 products and participation by 22 countries, including Britain, China, Finland, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Spain and Turkey.

“The scope and reach of Excon has been growing over the years and we hope to see more number of industries and visitors to make it the biggest construction equipment industry expo in South East Asia,” Sondhi added.

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