Exclusive interview with Mr. Vikramjiet Roy, MD, Maccaferri India

We are inevitably advocates of use of alternative construction materials in ongoing and upcoming infrastructure development. We enable use of local material with low overall and transportation cost, eventually reducing the carbon footprints. 

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Mr. Vikramjiet Roy
Mr. Vikramjiet Roy
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Metro Rail News conducted an email interview with Mr. Vikramjiet Roy, MD, Maccaferri India. In the interview Mr. Roy talked about civil engineering ecosystem of India.

Mr. Vikramjiet Roy, the Managing Director of Maccaferri Environmental Solutions Pvt. Ltd (MESPL) in India and the Regional CEO of the ISEAP Region (India, South-East Asia & Pacific) of the Officine Maccaferri group, is a first-generation entrepreneur and has close to three decades of experience in businesses – ranging from Industrial Products & Civil Engineering Solutions to Core Infrastructure & Environment Solutions. Having graduated in commerce from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata and an associate member of ICWA, Mr. Roy possesses an experience of over 27 years.

Here are the edited excerpts: –

How do you plan to change the civil engineering ecosystem of India which is considered to add to carbon footprints every year to a significant level? 

Civil engineering plays a critical role in building and reshaping growing countries like India, and demand for innovation is on the rise with the projected population growth and ageing. In infrastructural developments, use of conventional materials such as concrete, steel, lumber, clay, or gravel contribute significantly to the embodied carbon of every building project. The construction sector in India emits about 22% of the total annual emission of CO2.

India requires long-term solutions that are more environmentally friendly than conventional solutions. India needs to build a green economy with sustainability at the core of its developmental plan.By eliminating or decreasing the use of these materials and replacing them with a comparable geosynthetic material, these projects’ inherent embodied carbon will be reduced. When compared to conventional structures, the use of mechanically woven Double Twisted wire mesh solutions, particularly Reno Mattresses and Gabions filled with locally accessible stones, can result in reducing CO2 emissions savings of up to 70%. When it comes to construction, long-term sustainability should be a primary priority and reducing the carbon footprint may be the fastest method of reaching net zero carbon emissions. Solutions should be developed with the intent of improving quality of life while also preserving the environment.

We at Maccaferri invented Gabions (typically used to form flexible, permeable and monolithic structures) and dramatically changed civil engineering’s landscape. These are widely used in highways, hilly terrains, railways and mining. We are focused ondeveloping sustainable solutions in geotechnical and environmental construction markets

It’s been more than two decades, since Maccaferri has been working in India. What has been your evaluation so far regarding Indian efforts to reduce carbon emission towards global goal of clean & safe energy. Do you find the efforts on a serious node?

Rising emissions in construction sector emphasize the urgent need for a strategy to implement alternative construction material that reduce lifecycle carbon emissions. Ramping up fight against climate change and global warming, the country has committed several short and long term targets. India’s overall carbon intensity reduction goal from 33 percent to 45 percent by 2030, despite the country’s economic and population growth, is a commendable step. 

The construction industry, by its nature, is one of the top users of natural resources. With the growing concern of finite natural resources and climate change, there is increasing pressure in the construction industry to minimize its environmental impact. The infrastructure developments should have a conceptual framework for implementing sustainability principles and strategies from a life-cycle perspective to contribute to sustainable development.

We all know gabion walls are primarily used to control land sliding on road sides, erosion and scouring on the river banks during flood and high velocity river streams etc. Yourself being a pioneer in gabion technology and having worked on more than thousand projects in India, what has been your major achievements in country in those areas which country frequently suffers?

Gabions have a rich history world-wide for their use in retaining walls, river bank protection, landscaping, toe walls, fish passes. Moreover, rock filled gabion units are also popular as cladding on structures, to provide a natural looking aesthetic statement. 

Maccaferri gabion structure are cages which are engineered from double twisted hexagonal woven steel wire mesh which is coated with special polymeric coating. In addition to this, delivered flat-packed, our gabions are assembled and then filled with stones at the project site. There are numerous uses for these modular units and are typically used to form flexible, permeable and monolithic structures such as retaining gabion wall, channel linings, hydraulic control structures and erosion protection. They are increasingly being used in architectural applications as well. We especially have

Maccaferri gabion baskets which are made from heavily galvanised high quality steel wire and coated with special polymeric coating Polimac® to provide long term corrosion protection enabling for use in more aggressive environments.

Hilly regions are more vulnerable to natural disasters causing landslides, debris falls, and other rock fall events, and hence, becomes critical for infrastructure. Maccaferri successfully completed landslide mitigation in the hilly terrains of Lambagarh, Uttarakhand located at NH-58. For this site, Maccaferri constructed a reinforced soil wall (with a maximum height of 44 metres) with Terramesh system which is made up of gabions with integrated secondary reinforcement and high strength geogrid for reinforcement across a 500-meter stretch of land.

The Smriti Van Earthquake Memorial, project conceived by then Chief Minister now Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. Gabion structures with Macline Geosynthetic Clay Line (GCL) were chosen for their lower carbon emission, flexibility, durability and aesthetic appeal as the structure lies in Seismic Zone V i.e., prone to earthquakes. 

Maccaferri is a global organisation with a company history of nearly 140 years. How do you see the progress of the company in terms of its long existence?

Maccaferri is strongly committed to solving clients’ problems by continuously providing better solutions through active listening, innovation and collaboration. With the mission of becoming a leading global provider of advanced solutions to the civil, geotechnical and environmental construction markets, we work every day, with 140 years of our history, to find better solutions for our clients at every degree of latitude and longitude. We don’t just sell products at Maccaferri; we provide superior solutions by identifying, solving, and responding to each client’s unique needs. Gabions, geosynthetics, rockfall and avalanche protection systems, green solutions, specialty steel wire products, and much more are all part of our extensive offering. Maccaferri is a partner who works with clients from the start of a project until it is completed successfully, maximising value for money through technical competence and a diverse product selection.

What has been your CSR activities? Is there any major accomplishment on a global scale? Please tell us something about the CSR policy of the organisation.

Far from being a mandatory, giving back to society has been ingrained in the Maccaferri culture since inception. Maccaferri works as a solution supplier for enterprises as well as companies operating under the CSR domain for environmental preservation. We are among few technological companies delivering environmental solutions with the ability to make a significant effect in the environmental protection domain under CSR.

In India, the pandemic provided an opportunity for the country to unite in order to defeat Covid 19. Maccaferri as a socially responsible company stood committed and firmly with the country against this COVID-19 fight. Humanity, adaptability to the new normal, and contributions to overcome this pandemic time have all been established by resilient leadership headed by compassion. The company’s commitment to the cause has been unwavering and Maccaferri launched multiple internal and external initiatives (under Count on Us) to support the country’s healthcare system’s needs, as well as the frontline workers who worked tirelessly to combat the virus’s threat and impact. Our ‘Breath Easy’ campaign was launched in 2021 to extend help to society by providing oxygen concentrators to patients who were in need. We carried out multiple vaccination drives for our employees and their families. Also, we have been organising regular blood donation drives since 2009.

How do you see the functioning of Indian civil engineering giants like NBCC, RITES, IRCON etc. which have been able to leave a reasonable grade of impression in last few years on a global platform?

The infrastructure sector is a crucial driver for the Indian economy. The industry is highly responsible for propelling India’s overall development and enjoys intense focus from the Government for initiating policies that would ensure the country’s time-bound creation of world-class infrastructure. Organisations like NBCC, RITES, IRCON etc. are playing an important role in pushing infrastructure projects and bringing them to reality. It includes developing of bridges, dams, roads, and other urban infrastructure development. Maccaferri works as a partner alongside these organizations from the start of the project till its successful completion, maximising value for money through technical expertise and an extensive portfolio of quality products and solutions. 

Our solutions begin with the project’s design phase, with the basic goal of solving a problem. Then, we proceed through all the stages of development; manufacturing, designing, and installing solutions. As part of our service, we provide technical assistance to organisations for installation of our advanced solutions. We have a specialised construction company (Maccaferri Infrastructure Private Limited) in India that takes on turnkey projects which are complex and strategic projects, not very common in the industry.

Government in India is increasingly focusing on Make in India, Atmirbhar Bharat with sustainability at utmost. How are you advocating and contributing to government’s effort on these endeavours?

The government’s economic packages are playing a significant role in making India “self-sufficient.” Infrastructure being one of the pillars of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, various initiatives, such as the Bharatmala Project, the Paravatmala Project, and the Setu Bharatam Project are on the go. We are inevitably advocates of use of alternative construction materials in ongoing and upcoming infrastructure development. We enable use of local material with low overall and transportation cost, eventually reducing the carbon footprints. 

What are your future goals and plans seeing your long and successful career?

We recognise the vitality of the Indian infrastructure market and are working to provide better, more cost-effective solutions and technology that are best suited for the Indian environment. For the next decade, India’s infrastructure growth projections are predicted to increase year on year. There are currently few long-term choices for building physical infrastructure at a rapid, efficient, and large scale. Our goal is to be a trusted partner to stakeholders, fostering creativity, innovation, and adoption of alternative solutions to challenging civil engineering problems with sustainability at core.

Engineering is an increasingly popular option amongst youth in India. What would be your message to the aspiring youth in this regard. Is civil engineering presently the best option amongst all engineering streams? 

Engineering skills and expertise are essential for driving long-term economic growth and addressing societal concerns via technology innovation and development. As a result, understanding and continually adapting and improving the educational and professional paths of engineers is critical for ensuring national competitiveness and quality of life. Infrastructure is critical for the economic success of a growing country like India. With India’s GDP rising, skilled professionals are in high demand to maintain growth. Government and educational institutions are investing billions in building engineering infrastructure to equip students with the latest technology. However, engineering involves experiential learning. 

The skills inculcated must enable students to tackle challenges during their careers. Engineers must generate well-defined solutions that can avoid loss of time or excessive spending.

Country needs a steady supply of qualified engineers, with the necessary skillset, to boost local economies, create new jobs, facilitate sustainable development and meet Government ambitions. 

Please share your views about Metro Rail News. Any message for our readers? 

Metro Rail News is a remarkable and one-of-a-kind portal committed to depicting urban mobility solutions in India with important and up-to-date information regarding infrastructure and growth. On behalf of Maccaferri, I would like to encourage Metro Rail News readers to continue reading one of the few media houses dedicated to in depth infrastructure stories, solutions happenings and challenges. 

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