Blog - General

Understanding the Crucial Differences Between Contract and Claim Management

Posted by: Srinivasan N Designation: Advisor – Contracts and Claims Date: July 11, 2024 Most EPC contractors and clients do not appreciate the difference between these two terms. Most organisations perceive this function as “preparing and issuing claims” and thus narrow down the scope of a contract manager to that of a claim manager. Prudent processes stress the importance of good contract management as this is a proactive measure to PREVENT CLAIMS. Contract management practices address the key causes for claims which generally are: – Non-performance of obligations: Understanding and identifying all the performance obligations of the parties and emphasizing timely performance – Know all your obligations. Ambiguities /unclear contract stipulations: Identifying all ambiguities and resolving these to bring clarity. Resolve ambiguities before an event occurs. All resolutions may not be in your favour, but clarity ensures performance and prevents claims. Incomplete and unclear scope split and interfaces: Have a complete and clear scope split document. All contract changes to be promptly notified and change orders agreed- Change order requests are not claims unless they are disputed. Claim preparation is expensive and needs experts to prepare claims that can withstand scrutiny by an “Arbitrator” Appreciation of the above will encourage

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Ouch, those container spot rate increases are high!

Posted by: David Wignall Designation: Advisor – Technical and Commercial Date: July 5, 2024 Ocean freight rates are not the most common discussion points over dinner, but some mass media journalists think we should be paying more attention to them. Spot rates the most immediate market responsive measure of ocean freight costs are once more far above those is 2019 before the container shipping market went through a “once in a lifetime” boom market created by the world’s reaction to the Covid 19 pandemic. So, is this a twice in a lifetime experience? What is driving such volatility in the market? A swift review shaws that the Hamas attacks on 7th October, the Israeli response and consequent supporting actions from other Iranian linked paramilitary groups, notably those linked to the Houthi’s long-standing insurrection or fight for autonomy in Yemen, has led to the effective closure of the Red Sea to container shipping. So much for the freedom of the seas! This closure means container ships need to Europe round southern Africa and increased the transit times from Asia to Europe and therefore the numbers of ships required to maintain services. Spare a thought for the Suez Canal! The closure has

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Railway Corridor At Multi-modal Logistics Park (MMLP)

Posted by: G R Rajagopalan Designation: Associate Date: May 21, 2024 Multi-modal Logistics Parks (MMLPs) represent a significant government initiative in India aimed at enhancing the logistics sector by reducing freight costs, time in transit, and storage expenses, improving consignment safety through tracking / traceability and reliability whilst reducing GHG emissions and other environmental impacts. These MMLPs will include inland container terminals for inter-modal transfers enabling and encouraging a shift towards integrated modal transport (logistics). Improving the railway’s offering to containers and more general cargos will boost earnings, diversify revenue sources, and reduce dependency on bulk and passengers. Containers (more exactly unitization) streamlines the transport process, making it more efficient and cost-effective by using standard (ISO) containers able to carry 15-30t of many different types of cargo. The containers and their cargo can be lifted as a unit when loading, at every change of transport mode and when unloaded at their destination. This reduces handling costs (labour) and saves time. Railways environmental sustainability through energy-efficient transport. But they currently hold less than 10% of the domestic container transport market and around 30% of the export-import (EXIM) container transport market. Plenty of room for growth. The government is driving the market

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EPC Projects – Sales Managers And Project Managers – Who Is The Key?

Posted by: Seena Arangathi Designation: Assistant Manager – Sales and Marketing Date: March 28, 2024 In most EPC companies, sales and project management are two distinct departments that reports to the Business head. Sales Managers are responsible for the TOP line of the financials, i.e. orders booked. Most business heads will generally not let go of a prospective order as the TOP line is important for growth targets. Sales Managers often receive support and clearances to conclude sales by agreeing to customers conditions and specifications. Risks and opportunities identified during the sales phase cannot be fully provided for the pricing and so most projects are sold with substantial unprovided risks and minimum margins. Project Managers are tasked with delivering what is sold and to improve margins- i.e. they provide the “BOTTOM LINE” of the financials. Under the above circumstances, several points come up. Which of the above two functions is preferred to head a business when an opportunity arises? In most companies, sales deals/contracts are signed and finalized at the highest management levels. Project Managers being responsible for revenues and margins are in focus during quarterly financial reviews by TOP management, thus both sales and project managers have opportunities to

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Bhaiyya. Ek Cutting. Kadak: Chai Culture At The Indian Workplace

Posted by: Spandana Bandari Designation: Associate Date: December 31, 2023 The love for chai is an ever-present reality in India, especially in the workplace. The temperature outside may be 4oC r 45oC but rarely has an Indian shied away from a chai invitation. Every Indian workplace, be it an astir corporate office or a small business, each entity has it’s own chai culture. Employees of all levels engage in a ‘chai ritual’ where they gather at the office pantry or a chai stall (tapri) to have tea. An affordable beverage, all loves chai irrespective of socioeconomic differences. Tea culture in India can trace its roots back to ancient times, where it began as a potion of herbs and medicinal infusions. Making its debut in Asia around 3000 BC and initially served as an herbal drink, an exclusive beverage for the nobility. Its initial iteration was a combination of spices, with no actual tea leaves involved. A transformative moment came as tea was discovered (or invented) in China. But it was during the era of British colonial rule that the concept of tea, as we currently understand it, evolved. The British East India Company exploited the natural climate of parts of

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Pre-Engineered Building – The Steel Revolution

Posted by: Ms. K Revathy Nair Designation: Manager- Design Services Date: November 16, 2023 Few days back, I was part of a meeting that our team was having with a key Client to discuss a project encompassing Civil and PEB works and Planning. The discussion gradually veered towards the commercial domain, when suddenly the Client dismissed most of the work including PEB work as “petty works”. Having a PEB (Pre-Engineered Buildings) background and a habit of introspecting each and every sentence that comes out of everyone around me, I felt I should set straight the perception on quality engineering and planning and its importance in execution, operations and maintenance. Although, after few moments of scrutiny I realised the Client’s observation was absolutely justified since PEB design and its implementation is absolutely simple, cost effective and takes very less time. However, when someone calls it petty work, I thought of penning down my views on what it entails to make these structures simple, elegant and cost effective. PEB structures are essentially metal structures consisting of members that are project specific (Steel is the most widely used material in PEB because of its excellent strength and material properties). Various components are assembled

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INDIA-The most preferred Emerging Market

Posted by: Ms. Spandana Bandari and Ms. Seena Arangath Designation: Associate and Assistant Manager (Sales and Marketing) respectively Date: November 7, 2023 A recent article in the Economic Times, said “Morgan Stanley upgrades India to ‘standout overweight’ market.” That is a positive endorsement for India as the preferred Equity Markets in the emerging economies. Another sign of India’s economic growth and prosperity. It illustrates that more people have more disposable income to spend as they want on goods and services. These facts join to enable entrepreneurs to access capital and create jobs, creating a virtuous circle of growth and economic development in a growing and young population. The Indian equity market has been one of the best for value generation in recent years. It has consistently outperformed other major markets including the US and European markets. In numbers, from early 2021 until October 2022 the MSCI EM index increased by 45.5% (in USD terms. India is performing as the outstanding market in relative EPS [Earning Per Shares] in the emerging economies. As a bonus, this is in a country that is very independent with a low exposure in terms of revenue to both the US and China. This is not

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The Persuasion Puzzle

Posted by: Ms. Spandana Bandari Designation: Associate Date: September 13, 2023 “What is distinctively human at the most fundamental level is the capacity to persuade and be persuaded” – Bertrand Russell, 1927 Welcome to the capitalistic bonanza everyone, hope you enjoy your stay. You can avail an upgrade at a small price of just half of your peace of mind, that has been ruined by constantly being pushed towards advertisements. In today’s world, saturated with capitalist influences and relentless advertising, it becomes essential to explore approaches beyond aggressive sales tactics to build trust and credibility with sceptical prospects. So how does a sales representative go beyond and build trust with sceptical prospects rather than being pigeonholed as being aggressive and pushy? By knowing when and how to implement a soft selling approach. Soft sellers possess a remarkable skill set that keeps prospects engaged without resorting to pushy techniques. By avoiding incessant pressure and allowing room for deliberation, they provide valuable information and empower prospects to make informed decisions. To master the art of persuasive soft selling, here are some effective tips and tricks: • Simplify and communicate your message clearly: Complex jargon and convoluted explanations can alienate prospects. Strive for

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Cultivating Collaboration: The Evolution And Benefits Of Early Contractor Involvement In Construction Projects

Posted by: Sajith Sreedharani Designation: Managing Director Date: September 11, 2023 Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) in construction projects is a project delivery approach where the potential contractors are consulted during the early stages (often the project concept phase) of the project. This approach gained popularity in the early 20th century to streamline projects as a response to the complexity of large infrastructure projects. It aims to supplement the project from the concept phase until completion with the experiences of several competent contractors in the field and is useful irrespective of the contracting methodology (i.e., single package EPC contract or project scope divided to several packages) followed by the project owners/promoters. The shortcomings of traditional approach where contractor interactions during the initial/pretender phase was frowned upon and often led to in cost/time overruns due lack of trust and understanding amongst the parties. Early contractor involvement provides advantages that are driven by their knowledge of: 1. Available and/or ease of procurement of construction materials (and costs) 2. Critical long lead items so they are designed out of the project or ordered at an early stage 3. The interpretation of the design to make it easier to build 4. Construction methods and how

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Work Permit System – Code of Practice: IS 17893: 2023

Posted by: Mr. Pinaki Ray Designation: HSE Manager Date: August 24, 2023 The Bureau of Indian Standards released IS 17893:2023 – Work Permit System — Code of Practice in June 2023. This Standard was adopted by the BIS after the draft finalized by the Chemical Hazards Sectional Committee had been approved by the Chemical Division Council. The purpose of this standard is to establish a systematic method to identify potential hazards and outline the necessary precautions to establish safe working conditions for carrying out any work and this standard provides guidance for preparation of work permit for work areas whose activities are restrictive in nature such as ‘cold work’, ‘hot work’, ‘electrical Work’, ‘height Work’ etc. What is Work Permit System? The work permit is a certified procedure for allowing certain work to be carried out in a fixed place and during a given period of time. It is also a procedure authorizing entry to certain facilities. It provides a check list for a systematic method of risk assessment, warns the residual hazards in the job, and outlines the precautions to be taken while carrying out the job. It provides responsibility for the persons who are accountable for authorizing the

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Precast and in-situ Construction – Importance and stage-wise Design approach

Posted by: Mr Bhavdip Shah Designation: Marine Structural Engineer Date: May 22, 2023 Objective: Precast and in-situ construction methods are commonly used in the construction industry. Precast refers to the manufacturing of components off-site, usually in a controlled factory environment, while in-situ (also known as cast-in-place or site-cast) construction involves pouring concrete on-site into formwork to create the desired structural elements. Stage-wise design refers to the process of designing a structure in different stages or phases considering the construction sequence and the specific requirements of each stage. When combining precast and in-situ construction methods in a stage-wise design, the overall construction process can be optimized for efficiency and cost-effectiveness. For example, using pre-cast elements as permanent formwork for larger concrete structures. Here’s an overview of how this approach can be implemented: Preliminary Design: During the preliminary design stage, the overall structure is conceptualized, and its general requirements are determined. Factors such as loading, building codes, architectural considerations, and functional requirements are considered.The decision to use precast or in-situ construction methods can be made after the preliminary design. It is based on factors like project schedule, cost, and site conditions. For marine structures, site conditions always favour more precast works with

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Fire Prevention Technology for Infrastructure Development Project

Posted by: Pinaki Ray Designation: HSE Manager Date: April 26, 2023 Many fire-related high-risk activities, such as welding, cutting, grinding, others hot works, temporary electrical and lighting equipment etc., are involved in infrastructure development projects. In addition to the storage or use of highly flammable materials, both of which can be extremely hazardous and harm people, infrastructure, and the environment. In development projects, there are frequently fire incidents. Given the severity of the fire safety issues, it is necessary to implement the following fire prevention technology in order to prevent fire incidents. 1.Fire Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment The first step in fire prevention is to conduct a risk assessment prior to beginning the project to identify potential threats and triggers that might result in an emergency. Hazards can include: -Faulty electric connection and cables -Overloaded or defective plug sockets -Heating appliances -Combustible materials and flammable liquids placed near heat sources -Smoking and open flames -Poor housekeeping 2.Fire Prevention Plan A fire prevention plan must be implemented to prevent a fire from occurring in a development project. It describes the fuel sources (hazardous or other materials) on site that could initiate or contribute both to the spread of a fire,

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Drone Use – Safety & Legal Requirements

Posted by: A. Y. Sundkar Designation: Director, National Safety Council Date: March 6, 2023 Issued in: Industrial Safety Chronicle VOL. No. LIII | No.2 Droners are also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or Unmanned Aircraft System (UASs). It can be remotely controlled through software, working in conjunction with on board sensor and Global Positioning System (GPS). With advancement in technology, drones are used for different purpose and application such as delivery, national highway mapping, smart agriculture work, agriculture land survey, forest monitoring, surveillance emergency response, etc. Also, it has been used for high-risk jobs wherein many types of risks are eliminated including exposer to health and unsafe conditions e.g. inspection of electricity transmission towers, pipelines, structural stability, tall chimneys, boilers, etc. To regulate the drone related activities in a manner such that they do not pose any risk to safety or security of people and assets; the Govt of India promulgated the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021 w.e.f. 12th March, 2021. However, these Rules are not comprehensive as feedbacks and suggestions were received from academia, industry and of Civil Aviation, Govt. of India has repealed the UAS Rules with new set of rules titled as the Drone Rules,

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Eka Infra Podcast Ep2|Contract Management Connection:Insights & Discussions with Mr. N Srinivasan

Posted by: Eka Infra Consultants Date: February 15, 2023 Podcast EP 2: Contract Management Join us as we dive into the world of contract management! Our expert, Mr. N Srinivasan, will be leading a discussion with our staff on this crucial aspect of technical excellence at Eka Infra. With over 35+ years of experience in contract management, Mr. Srinivasan is the perfect guide for our podcast-based interaction. This is just the start, as we aim to explore the vast subject of contract management in-depth, starting with some of the key tasks performed by contract managers in projects and organizations. Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to learn and grow with us!https://youtu.be/IrhIi-sbqJM Recent Posts

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Concrete Mix Design – Secret Recipe

Posted by: Mr. Vinod Bhagwat Designation: Manager (PMC- Project Coordination) Date: January 31, 2023 Concrete mix design overview Concrete is the most important material in the infrastructure projects and the concrete mix proportions are the most important aspects of working with the concrete. Designing a concrete mix needs to follow dedicated and judicious approach which requires detailed analysis of available raw material (concrete ingredients) and composition thereof. Concrete mix is a combination of coarse aggregate, fine aggregate, cement and water. Admixtures are used to increase workability and setting time of concrete mix without affecting its durability, consistency and other strength parameters. Some project specification allows replacement of cement content partially with pozzolanic material such as fly ash, Ground Granulated Blast Furnace Slag (GGBFS), silica fumes etc. to give increased impermeable and durable concrete. In this blog we are looking at some important things that we need to keep in our mind while designing concrete mixes. As we all know, during the mix design trials we attempt to find out perfect proportion of concrete ingredients which gives desired strength and achieve durability requirements. For getting perfect mix all the raw material quality test results shall satisfy the technical specification and IS

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The Blue Economy – Definition and Prospects

Posted by: Subhash K K Designation: Design Engineer Date: December 26, 2022 The Old Man and the Sea reflects on determination and character.  It can be seen as a simile for the human relationship with the ocean. That relationship is nearly as old as man, complex and to a degree parasitic. The ocean is a source of food, energy, trade and adventure. The coastal zone is increasingly critical for human population and development.  Research, innovation and investment makes the ocean an ever more important source of food and energy.  This has also aided in opening up the ocean as a source of biological diversity and providing hopes for delivering a biomedical resource. Although humans are gaining in understanding the bounty of commodities, non-market goods and services that can be generated from the ocean, they also appear adept at exploiting the ocean’s resources far beyond sustainability. The ocean is large but not infinite.  Humans seem intent on overburdening the ocean and depleting or destroying the resource pool it proffers for their benefit.   It is imperative that we humans, develop systems and processes that guard the ocean from excessive exploitation and protect it from pollution. If not, the ocean may not recover,

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A Year in the Life of a Fresh Graduate Engineer

Posted by: Amala Bennichan Designation: Design Engineer Date: December 9, 2022 I am Amala Bennichan, and I hold a Master’s in Technology in Offshore Structures degree. As an individual who spent almost 1/4th of her lifetime in education, my goal was to be independent by acquiring a job and leading a superior quality of life. During my Graduation in 2020, Covid 19 hit the world, and a sudden holdback stopped every individual’s life. Being a Fresher, I was going through all the possible sources for getting a job which under normal circumstances was a challenging task, and the pandemic made it worse. The companies were laying off people from jobs, reducing salaries, shuffling the workforce and, in extreme cases, even shutting down offices. The few numbers of jobs that may have been available were only for experienced people.For a year, I was idle at home. One day, while surfing online for job opportunities, I came across a startup engineering company called – Eka Infra Consultants Pvt. Ltd. on LinkedIn. This firm provides consultancy services for Ports, Logistics, Coastal Structures and others, which had been my core education. I said, “Let me Try My Luck Once Again.” I connected to the

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Possibilities for Indian maritime sectors in the changing times

Posted by: Shanid KP Designation: Associate Date: August 29, 2022 After 80 years of driving global economic growth and peace, international trade is now facing multiple challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted supply chains, and high fuel prices caused by the Russia-Ukraine war have made transportation costs unmanageable for many businesses. The war has also affected international grain trading. The recent crisis in Sri Lanka is linked to the war as well. Tensions between China and Taiwan have grown, leading some to fear that globalization is going into reverse—a trend supported by all previous challenges. Furthermore, decisions about how to respond to anthropomorphic climate change will influence the following: which fuel is chosen, where it is sourced from, and even more pressure for shorter supply chains.It is impossible to predict how international trade will be reshaped as technological and economic forces push and pull on the strategies of shipowners, ports, and logistics companies. Economic commentators have been talking about inflation, recession, and stagnation. But let’s look at what opportunities crisis creates for India—in particular its maritime sector. The Sri Lankan economic crisis has had a negative impact on Colombo Port, the key transhipment hub of South Asia. Is this an

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Delay analysis in construction contracts

Posted by: N Srinivasan Designation: Advisor (Contracts) Date: June 22, 2022 Delays are encountered in a large number of projects. Schedulers and Project managers need to identify /analyse and implement appropriate corrective steps including actions to prevent such delays from re occurring. The reasons for delays are often due to, improper/insufficient planning, lack of competence/experience of some of the participants, changes in techno commercial terms, delays in permits and Force Majeure. However, in current market situation, the objectives of delay analysis has shifted to allocate the delay damages to the participants. Since there are so many stakeholders involved in construction projects, such as owners, consultants, and government agencies, a clear understanding of the project scope split and an agreed-upon integrated time schedule is essential. The duration of any project has a direct impact on the financial results of all stakeholders and hence delays need to be analysed for granting of extension of time and levying of damages on parties causing such delays. Government agencies involved in permitting and approvals etc are generally not accountable for delays and seldom sign up on any project schedules. All project participants are generally mandated by contract to seek for extension of time promptly upon

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Electrical Safety on Construction sites

Posted by: K Ayyalu Samy Designation: Assistant Resident Engineer Date: March 19, 2022 Introduction Electrical safety is typically one of the main safety concerns at construction sites. Every construction site is covered with electrical hazards. Electrical safety is a general practice of workers who are exposed to handling and maintaining electrically powered equipment and using electricity in construction site. This blog takes a closer look at some common workplace electrical hazards and how to manage them. In addition, this blog discusses safety precautions and solutions for better electrical safety. A simple flow chart for ensure electrical safety at workplace and achieve zero electrical accident. Common Electrical Hazards The first step in improving electrical safety for construction sites is to make sure everyone is able to help identify electrical hazards. This can start with making sure everyone knows that they should treat all extension cords and other electrical equipment as if it had a live current going through it at all times. This simple procedure can help ensure that no one makes a mistake that leads to catastrophic harm or death. There are many other hazards that people need to be on the lookout for. The following are some common electrical

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Defects in Concrete and Preventive Measures

Posted by: Vinod Bhagwat Designation: Assistant Resident Engineer Date: February 28, 2022 Concreting is a critical process which requires strict supervision during placing and compaction of the concrete so as to achieve the desired strength and durability. The improper compaction and bonding between the concrete may leads to various defects which affects the strength and durability of the concrete structure. Defects in concrete structures can result in failure of the structure under certain conditions. It is important for construction teams to observe these defects, such as cracking, spalling, blow holes, honey combing etc. to ensure that the structure being built out of concrete is capable of lasting its design life. Most of the degradation processes encountered by concrete structures such as corrosion, alkali-aggregate reaction, sulphate attack and many other types of physical and chemical deterioration, require water dissolved chemicals. The process of chemical and physical deterioration of concrete with time or reduction in durability is generally dependent on the presence and transport of the deleterious substances through concrete. Thus, permeability of concrete has greater effect on durability of concrete. There are many and different types of defects in concrete, but majority of defects are identified and illustrated as below: Blow holes Honey combing Cold joints

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Road Safety “Sadak Suraksha – Jeevan Raksha”

Posted by: Pinaki Ray Designation: HSE Manager Date: February 17, 2022 India’s road transport sector accounts for about 87% of passenger traffic and 60% of freight traffic movement in the country. For many Indians, road transport is one of the most cost-effective and preferred mode of transport. This is true for both freight and passenger transport. A wide road network, the availability of a variety of transport modes that suit all kinds of individuals, as well as opportunities for low-cost travel are some of the reasons why road transport is popular and preferred. In today’s world, road transport has become an integral part of the human experience. Virtually everyone is a road user in one way or the other. In recent years, India has developed many high-speed transport corridors that have minimised distances between people, businesses, towns, and cities. On the other hand, they have also increased the risk to life. Every year, road accidents result in the loss of lakhs of lives, and serious injuries to crores of people all over India According to official data by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, India ranks first in the number of deaths caused by road accidents, accounting for almost

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Impact of Accident on Infrastructure Development Project

India is fast developing country and Infrastructure development is the key indicator for development. Accordingly, there are many infrastructure projects in progress across India specifically Roads & Highways, Coastal Infrastructure, and other infrastructural developments. Infrastructure development projects are carried out with high-risk activities and in hazardous environments. Even though all critical risk analysis is being done at the beginning of the project, while actual execution with all safety measures some lapses like manual errors, mechanical failures may happen. These lapses may lead / experiences accidents of various levels of severity, some causing minor and major injuries with even some resulting in fatality. These Occupational accidents in the infra development projects can have negative detrimental effects directly on project execution, as they can result in loss of productivity, delay the project, low staff morale, loss of reputation, decrease market value and risk to business sustainability. Following a workplace accident, companies often look at the immediate cause and strive to guarantee that this component of the business is resolved, allowing work operations to resume as usual. More organisations should go deeper into the root /core causes, considering the impact of the disaster as well as any avoidable expenditures. A prevalent misperception is

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Risk Management for Construction Project

Risk management in construction project is an important process of the project planning. Various risks associated with construction projects and when a risk turns into reality it can disrupt a project and it can have a serious impact on costs, schedules, and performance of the project which will lead to delays and disputes down the road. In order to avoid disaster, you need to be able to properly assess, control, and monitor risks once they’ve been identified. Risk management is a process of steps that help identify and migrate the risks for the successful closure of a project. If done correctly and sincerely, risk management will reduce not only the likelihood of an event occurring, but also the magnitude of its impact. In the simplest terms, risk management process is taking preventive actions to avoid and minimize any kind of risk to a project which lead to  Increase market value, increase profits, establishing good relationships with clients that result in more projects, and being able to expand business. Risk Management Process: Step 1: Identify the hazards Step 2: Assess the Risks Step 3: Control the Risks Step 4: Record your findings and implement them Step 5: Review your assessment and update if necessary Identify

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How India’s Met Department Helps the Country to Combat Climate Change and Food security

Just after World War II, a pioneering and courageous young Indian woman boarded a ship to England. Her purpose? To study meteorology (weather sciences) at Imperial College London. Anna Mani’s (23rd August 1918 – 16th August 2001) determination to forge her own destiny, coupled with the foresight to study a scientific subject that’s so vital in the modern world, ultimately helped pave the way for meteorological development and progress in India. In the 21st century, the whole world is talking and researching climate change and global warming. India is no exception. Moreover, the country is also looking into the impact of these phenomena on a social problem that’s plagued us for decades – food security. While we have not yet managed to achieve full food security, we are better informed today than we were half a century ago. So we can optimistically hope for a food-secure India sometime in future. And for this, we must thank Ms. Anna Mani. Setting the Stage for India’s Meteorological Progress Following her return to India, Ms. Mani eventually became an inspirational figure in meteorology, particularly in meteorological measurement and forecasting. She helped spearhead India’s efforts to manufacture its own meteorological instrumentation, including weather measurement

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MAYDAY MAYDAY! Is ANYONE listening?

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) characterizes drought as “a complex and slowly encroaching natural hazard with significant and pervasive socio-economic and environmental impacts, is known to cause more deaths and displace more people than any other natural disaster”. As per the estimate by UNCCD, 1.8 billon people will experience absolute water scarcity, and 2/3 of the world will be living under water-stressed conditions by 2025.

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Report on grounding of M.V. Ever Given in the Suez Canal

Report On Grounding Of M.V. Ever Given In The Suez Canal DISCLAIMER: – This report is based on information available in the public domain through various media resources. Although the information thus obtained could not be verified, the data has largely been cross checked for inconsistencies. Only such data, which appeared reasonable and practical to the author (based on his professional experience and knowledge) has been included. Furthermore, chapters 01 to 05 have been compiled with information available up to vessel departure from Suez. 1. SALIENT FEATURES OF THE SUEZ CANAL The 120-mile-long canal, constructed in 1869, connects the Mediterranean in the North with the Red Sea in the South. The canal is managed and operated by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) since 1956, when the Egyptian government nationalized the Suez Canal Company, which was largely owned by British & French interests. The chairman of SCA is Mr Osama Rabie. Captain Hassanin was on duty at the control tower located in Ismailia at the time of the incident. The pilots are employed directly by SCA. The waterway is only about 200 meters wide (from bank-to-bank) at some locations and about 24 meters deep. The cross-section profile of the canal appears

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Continuous Simulation using HEC-HMS (Part1): The HMS Framework

Hydrologic Models and HEC-HMS Given a spatial unit over the earth’s surface, which is variously known as catchment or watershed or basin, how incident rainfall becomes runoff at the catchment’s outlet — is probably the most fundamental question to a hydrologist. Hydrologic models (aka Rainfall Runoff Models) are the main tool that has been used by the hydrologists to answer this question quantitatively. A rainfall-runoff model is a simplification of a complex, non-linear, time and space varying hydrological process reality. Over the years many types of hydrologic models have been developed and have been applied to various use cases. In a recently published work by Peters-Lidard et al. (2019), this development has been nicely captured and categorized into following six eras, as depicted in Figure 1. The development of the Hydrologic Modeling Center’s  Hydrologic Modeling System (HEC-HMS) started in the beginning of the Geoscience Era and it is still continuing in the current Co-evolution Era. The HEC-HMS is designed to simulate the precipitation-runoff process of dendritic watershed system. HEC-HMS is applicable for a range of spatial scales such as large river basin water supply and flood hydrology, and small urban or natural watershed runoff. For over last 30 years HEC-HMS

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Drought Declaration: Existing Practices in India

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) characterizes drought as “a complex and slowly encroaching natural hazard with significant and pervasive socio-economic and environmental impacts, is known to cause more deaths and displace more people than any other natural disaster”. As per the estimate by UNCCD, 1.8 billon people will experience absolute water scarcity, and 2/3 of the world will be living under water-stressed conditions by 2025.

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Auditing Air Pollution Emissions from an Industrial Process

Air Pollution Emissions Audit Services in India Air pollution in India is a growing health issue and environmental problem. Some of the most polluted cities in the world, are found in India, where millions of people breathe air that often exceeds the World Health Organisation air quality guidelines for human health and social wellbeing. Of the world’s most polluted 30 cities, 22 are in India, according to research by IQ AirVisual, a Swiss-based group that gathers air-quality data globally, and Greenpeace. It has been estimated that more than 51% of the air pollution is generated from industrial processes, with the other significant pollutant emitter being motor vehicles, particularly in urban areas.  India’s poor air quality contributes to the premature deaths of many people every year, and significantly impacts the Indian economy. Unless action is taken the situation will deteriorate further. The current situation is not sustainable. Greater control and audit of India’s industrial processes is required to ensure they adhere to environmental guidelines, regulations, standards and laws. Good environmental manage practices will ensure improved company reputation, economic savings and a cleaner ambient environment. Solving the problem of air pollution however, requires collective efforts from everyone : industry, government and the public

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Eka Infra’s National Safety Week Campaign

Karnataka is a globally renowned knowledge hub, home to the largest number of R&D centres, technical and medical institutions, and start-ups in India. A pleasant climate, cosmopolitan culture and investor-friendly business ecosystem make Karnataka one of the most sought-after investment destinations in the country. Moreover, the government’s highly responsive administrative apparatus has been extremely proactive in simplifying and improving the state’s business landscape. Karnataka is geared to attract and absorb new investments across multiple sectors over the coming few years. On 14th February 2020, the government of Karnataka hosted the Invest Karnataka – Hubballi Conference, the first-ever investors’ meet held in Karnataka outside Bengaluru. Inaugurated by Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, the main goal of this meet was to attract investors and reputed companies who could help develop North Karnataka as a leading destination for business investments. Another goal was to collaborate with business leaders, thought leaders, research institutions, think tanks

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The Important Links between Effective Administration and Organisational Success

Seafarers have always been engaged in a dangerous profession and though much progress has been made in this age of satellite technology, many of the risks remain and incidents still frequently occur on the high seas and in the approaches to ports. Just in the last few weeks we have seen four major casualties. Historically shipping has been a high-risk enterprise with many ships being lost close to port. One of the greatest risks that ship owners, seafarers, charterers or even a port operator takes is that of a navigation incident leading to a major casualty. Incidents come in many forms: collisions, groundings, anchors dragging etc. The industry needs to reflect further, how is it that ships with advanced navigation systems and sophisticated communication technologies still find themselves involved in groundings, collisions and other incidents? Planned, periodic and snap audits have a place in reducing the number of such incidents

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Incremental improvement through Navigation Audits

Seafarers have always been engaged in a dangerous profession and though much progress has been made in this age of satellite technology, many of the risks remain and incidents still frequently occur on the high seas and in the approaches to ports. Just in the last few weeks we have seen four major casualties. Historically shipping has been a high-risk enterprise with many ships being lost close to port. One of the greatest risks that ship owners, seafarers, charterers or even a port operator takes is that of a navigation incident leading to a major casualty. Incidents come in many forms: collisions, groundings, anchors dragging etc. The industry needs to reflect further, how is it that ships with advanced navigation systems and sophisticated communication technologies still find themselves involved in groundings, collisions and other incidents? Planned, periodic and snap audits have a place in reducing the number of such incidents

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Reskill to Upskill: Sustainable bridging of Data Deficiency

Workforce constitutes any enterprise’s most valuable asset especially in the infrastructure sector. The growth and development of any firm is hence based on the development of the workforce as it is technical and technology driven at the management level. Understanding their workforce from the perspective of an asset and intelligence defines the base strength of any enterprise. Development of any employee is contributed by various factors like the social, physical, and work life upliftment with ample focus on basic technical know-how and data management. Focusing on the upliftment of work life of any employee, we must understand that he/she should have the urge to develop critical thinking and scientific temper. These skills enable the employee to handle the competition/ challenges and simultaneously to overcome his/her limitations. All such skills are rooted in two simple words, “reskill” and “upskill”. Reskill is to face the challenges and to learn skills completely different

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India’s Atmanirbhar trade- What the future holds

COVID-19 pandemic has changed the nature and way trade will evolve. The effect on trade is already noticeable. A supply shock as China closed its factories was noticed with container ships sailing from China being blanked (suspended). As this shock lessened a demand shock started with shops across Asia, Europe, and the US closing their doors. Economists are comparing the lockdowns with the financial crises of 2008-2009 and the great depression of the 1930’s. The World Trade Organization (WTO) has predicted that world trade is going to fall between 13 to 32%. The global institutions are trying their best to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the world economy. Many countries are focusing their efforts on restarting their businesses and protecting their vital and essential supplies during this and future pandemics. Policymakers are already turning their minds to seek long- term lessons from the pandemic. They have looked deeply

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The Jiggly Tunes- Opportunistic use of the crisis

It seems like yesterday when our mornings started with school; evenings were occupied with outdoor activities and the day ended with completing our homework’s! Indeed, they were typical school days. Currently, we find ourselves struggling to comprehend the new world. A world where pandemics have potential to cause a wreck. New infectious diseases are emerging and causing havoc. Do you feel that spending 24 hours indoors has come out as a new challenge? As days passed boredom strikes and as the saying goes, “an empty mind is the devil’s house”. But in my case the emptiness gave me the inspiration and potential to learn and explore new things. As I was very fond of animals and the facts revolving around them; it gave me immense joy to spread the knowledge. YOUTUBE was an ultimate platform to showcase and spread the gathered facts about scientific stuff. In this way the present

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Celebrating Biodiversity on World Environment day

Established by the UN, World Environment day (5th June) , is celebrated to raise awareness on environment and mobilise action for environment protection. Eka Infra takes immense pleasure in doing there bit for promoting conservation. At Eka Infra, we invited our staff and their children to come forward and give in their inputs towards creating awareness about World Environment Day. Following this year’s theme of biodiversity, the team and their kids expressed their ideas in form of beautiful art on Biodiversity and Environment.

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COVID-19 and Dredging Industry – Part VI

[The following questions raised by the dredging industry for clarification. The clarification of the author is based on his personal opinion and the same cannot be construed as legal or contractual reference. This series is meant only to share knowledge with the industry] 1. What is the effect of Covid-19 on the Dredging industry? No sector or industry except essential services remains unaffected by Covid-19. Port dredging work remains largely unaffected, unlike inland waterways, river dredging and dredging of closed water bodies that are largely affected. At many ports across the globe, work is uninterrupted. They have adopted precautions issued by their flag state authorities. Dredging work could have halted if the port had experienced complete lockdown by closing its navigational channel. However, globally it was observed that port dredging work, both maintenance and capital, remained fairly unaffected. This was because the port management cannot afford formation of a plume

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COVID-19 and Force Majeure–Part V

India has been under a national lockdown except for essential services. We are entering the 42nd day of the lockdown as we draft this blog. Globally, most of the nations have declared lockdown which has resulted in jeopardizing the supply chain and logistics affecting domestic,international, multi- party contracts and cross border contracts. This effect could result in an unprecedented and an unforeseen potential surge in contractual disputes due to temporary suspension of performance under “Force Majeure”. This event explicitly provides what is beyond the reasonable control of the affected party or was not reasonably foreseen. It is essential to determine if Covid19 will qualify as a Force Majeure event. This will depend on the language of definitions adopted in the contract under the Force Majeure clause. The definitions, in the said clause, should be inclusive of an outbreak of diseases/pandemic to make Covid 19 qualify as a Force Majeure event.

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COVID-19 and FIDIC – Part III

A Short Guide to the FIDIC Contracts amid the Covid 19 Pandemic On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 crisis – a pandemic that is time-dependent and geography-independent – as a “public health emergency of international concern”. , This statement followed by the declaration of national lockdowns by several federal and state-level Governments all over the world have jeopardised thousands of commercial contracts in almost every industry. In general, contracts could be governed by well-drafted FIDIC clauses. They could also be based on any standard international format. Alternately, contracts could be completely ‘bespoke’, i.e. tailored to fit the specific requirements of a particular project. This article focuses on FIDIC contracts and the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on these particular types of contracts. Bespoke contracts, governed by Section 56 of The Indian Contract Act, 1872, are beyond the scope of this article. Almost all FIDIC contracts

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COVID-19 Vs Post Lockdown – Part IV

Business Continuity Strategies in a post-COVID World In a little over 4 months, COVID 19, the disease caused by the novel Coronavirus has become a serious international public health concern. To minimise its effects on the health and mortality of their citizens, many countries have declared national lockdowns, a difficult choice that has led to a virtual standstill of economic, business, and social activity. As of 18th May 2020, India had been in lockdown for almost over 56 days. Since the beginning of the lockdown declaration, the Narendra Modi-led Government has periodically reviewed the situation to determine if and when lockdown conditions can be relaxed to allow businesses to commence their operations. However, following expert analyses on the economic impact of COVID19 by organisations such as the World Bank (WB), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Asian Development Bank (ADB), it is evident that the current slowdown will remain the ‘new

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COVID-19 – “An Engineer’s Perspective”

The “free world”, typified by the US and UK, initially prioritized business over public health and are now paying the price. Even though there are passenger flights, including repatriation flights, still arriving at UK airports, I do not know whether strict health screening and quarantine measures are in place now, or whether the authorities are still relying on people being “honourable” about undertaking self-quarantine and volunteering information on their movements to facilitate contact tracing. The public health situation in the UK today is dire, with up to 900 people dying of the virus daily, and that is just the number of people testing positive who died in hospitals. Many more are dying in residential care homes and at home, most of which are thought to be due to the virus. If the infection and death rate curves in the UK population of approx. 65 million are replicated in India’s 1.3

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COVID-19 and Commercial Contracts – Part II

Often, pandemic outbreaks – whether completely of unforeseen or reasonably- anticipated – are geographically-independent and experienced by only a few regions or countries. They also tend to be time-dependent, working themselves out – usually due to the availability of a cure or the development of ‘herd mentality’ – after a certain period of time has elapsed. The COVID-19 pandemic is an exception to both these general rules of history due to its geography- and time-agnostic trajectory. With dozens of countries declaring national lockdowns and emergencies, several areas of citizenship as we know it have been affected – from political and legal to medical, educational, and even social. In this blog, we focus on the pandemic’s effect on commercial life, specifically on contracts and their non-performance in the present economic and human crisis. In particular, we analyse the significance and impact of the COVID-19 crisis on commercial contracts with respect to

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COVID-19 and Commercial Contract

Outbreak of unforeseen and or reasonably anticipated Pandemic swept industries both manufacturing and services alike, affecting the performance of contracts of former heavily than the later. Pandemic is characterized as time dependent but geographically independent, however due to prevalence, the time dependent resulted to be longer than anticipated. With developing and developed nations declaring lockdown and emergency, non-performance of contracts due to impossibility gains significant importance. Notwithstanding many Nations declared pandemic as “Force Majeure”, it is reasonably foreseen that dispute between parties and litigation shall linearly increase. Therefore in the present economic / human crisis, we analyze, the significance and impacts on commercial contract. Commercial Contracts reiterate that impossibility of performance of the contract works by a contractor will not, in general, relive him from liability in damages for breach of performance, save and except under exemptions. If, however the impossibility to perform his contract arises from a cause that

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The Infrastructure Industry in India: Current Scenario and Future Prospects

The present-day challenges that the Indian infrastructure industry is facing are neither new nor exclusive to India. And they are unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. While various forward-looking mega infrastructure projects like Dedicated Freight Corridor, Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor, and Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) have been announced over the last decade or so, many of these have still a long way to go towards reaching their finishing point due to various reasons. Since the past several years, we as a country have learned many valuable lessons while conceiving and implementing such large-scale infrastructure projects. In the process, we have identified several underlying factors for both successes and failures, particularly those related to policy, marketing and the level of preparedness for future market conditions and technologies. However, identifying these factors is no longer enough. Learning the right lessons from them is even more critical to ensure the

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Conservation of Natural Resources through Alternate Options

All structural engineering consultants know that cement, the primary ingredient in concrete, is not only an extremely important construction material for infrastructure development in particular, but also a key to economic growth in general. The strength, durability and other characteristic of concrete depends on the properties of its ingredients, proportion of mix, method of compaction and other controls during placing and curing. The production of cement is an energy-intensive process, resulting in the emission of greenhouse gases which adversely impacts the environment. Moreover, from a financial perspective, the cost of producing cement is increasing at an alarming rate, and the natural resources that provide the raw material for cement manufacturing are exhausting – two facts that really worry international engineering consultants. For both these reasons and more, the use of industrial by-products having cementitious properties as a replacement for cement in cement concrete has become the need of the hour

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Storm Surges

A storm surge is the abnormal rise of the water levels near the coast or near large lakes. The onset of a storm surge is not sudden. Therefore, with existing tools of prediction, prior warnings can be made available to the people residing near the coastline so they can make appropriate preparations. A storm surge should not be confused for a tsunami. Storm surges happen frequently and are basically the effect of tropical cyclones, hurricanes or typhoons. They are caused due to high winds and pressure, and occur right along the coastlines. History is witness to the major impacts caused by storm surges around the globe. In fact, they can be life-threatening to the people and infrastructure along the coastline, though not always. Tsunamis, on the other hand, happen less frequently, originate from earthquakes or seismologic activity, and can reach thousands of miles. They also bring with them much more

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Air Quality Strategies at Ports

Ports are the gateways for global trade and are critical to a nation’s economy. As well as being hubs for economic activity; they are also a potential sources of air pollution from ships, vehicle emissions, material handling (i.e. dust), etc. The close proximity of many ports to populated areas only further exasperates their potential impact on human health and the environment. Inevitably, ports are now becoming a focus for air pollution control and environmental management measures for those air pollutants generated by their activities e.g. carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx), and particulate matter (PM: PM10, PM2.5, PM1.0), etc. The health effects of prolonged exposure to these pollutants may include respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and even premature death. Air quality and emissions to air from shipping vessels and port activity has long been a recognised health and environmental problem. Indeed, it

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CRZ Notifications, an Overview

Coastal zone The Shore Zone (SZ), roughly falling at the intersection of marine, terrestrial and lower atmosphere, is uniquely characterized by different species, habitats and ecosystems. With each swash and backwash that alter and mould the shape and appearance of the SZ steadily and constantly, is otherwise environmentally fragile and highly sensitive. SZ is roughly at the middle part of Coastal Zone (CZ), is sandwiched between the Coastal Land Zone (CLZ) on the landside and the shelf zone on the seaside. The SZ, a domain of CZ, plays a very significant role in the social and economic sectors of a country and India, with a 7517km long shoreline (5423km mainland coastline and 2094km offshore islands) is no exception. Why manage the coast? Post WWII, anthropogenic activities, such as urbanization, industrialization, transportation to name a few; in the CLZ tended to sharply increase the pressure on the living and nonliving resources

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Smart Ports: The Generation Next of Maritime gateways

Ports around the world are critical logistics centres for their host countries. Nearly 90% of the world’s cargo is transported by sea with more than half of that being containerised cargo. According to the Ministry of Shipping (India), around 95 per cent of India’s international trade by volume and 70 per cent by value is moved by some form of maritime transport. The volume of Indian trade handled by its ports is expected to reach 1,695 million metric tonnes by 2021-22, according to a report of the National Transport Development Policy Committee. To keep up with the ever-growing demand (global and domestic), ports, and the supporting logistics industry must modernize and digitalize. They must adjust to the world of tomorrow. This means expansion, modernization and automation of their infrastructure and services, they must change into being SMART ports. A SMART port takes advantage of a range of technologies to enable

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