Mr. RK Pandey, member-projects at National Highway Authority of India, says, “Banning Chinese firms will not hamper construction of highways, as Indian firms have sufficient capability. There is hardly any proof that presence of Chinese firms ensures faster pace of construction.”
More than 10,000 km of highways have been constructed in India by Chinese companies during past few years, whereas the presence of Chinese companies in India’s highway construction sector is now reduced down to just four, that too in form of joint venture partners of local Indian firms, as the decision to bar Chinese firms from participating in Indian road projects was taken by Mr. Nitin Gadkari, road transport and highway minister.
The main significant Chinese firms engaged in the highways sector in India are Longjian (a state-owned Chinese construction company), Jiangsu Provincial Transportation Engineering Group Company, CR-18 and China State Construction Engineering, mostly through joint venture route.
Mr. Rajeshwar Burla of Investment Information and Credit Rating Agency of India, says, “Over the last two decades, many Indian developers have built exceptional capabilities in highway sector and therefore, banning Chinese players really wouldn’t affect the sector”.
An insider of the industry, on the condition of anonymity, stated that Indian companies come into joint venture only to attain qualifications and eligibility; that the chinese firms don’t have significant presence in India, and most of the work is done by Indian firms themselves.
Mr Nitin Gadkari, regarding his decision to ban Chinese companies in bidding (participating) in highway construction projects, also stated, “Even if we have to go for foreign joint venture in the areas of technology, consultancy or design, we will not allow Chinese.” and “For upgradation of technology, research, consultancy and other works, we will encourage foreign investment and joint ventures in MSMEs but in case of Chinese we will not entertain them”. He further added, “It is a good step. The imports from China will be discouraged and the country will take large strides towards self-reliance.” – referring to our PM’s aim of Aatm-nirbhar Bhaarat.