Debasis Bhattacharya, Head – Marketing, Sales & Product Support at Ajax Engineering Pvt Ltd; one of the major players in the Self- Loading Concrete Mixers (SLCM) segment says it is necessary to create a hybrid model which includes a commitment from the government body, the private player involved and the banks to ensure a financial closure for the projects.

What is your assessment of the Excon 2019 exhibition?
I believe it ended on a good note. In the last three or four months, the construction industry experienced a slowdown, and it had a cumulative effect on the construction equipment sector as well. The sentiment was not so strong and there was a lot of skepticism regarding Excon.

Despite the odds the footfall in Excon was great and what is left now is the financial closure, which is critical because in an economic slump like this, liquidity is a problem but the way customers have come forward shows that intent is there. The union government now needs to put a stimulus in place so that it can set the ball rolling and reinvigorate the confidence in the construction sector.

In terms of infrastructure – roads, irrigation, there is no dearth of projects. There are ample projects but the financial closure is important. Intentionally or unintentionally diversion of funds from infra-related projects to social spending has affected the rate at which projects are completed. Whether the projects have to be completed today or tomorrow is a question which hangs in balance. So it’s a question of how the central government and the respective state governments are committed towards the completion of critical infrastructure projects.

Tell us about some of your innovative products.
Feature wise, Ajax machines are on par with what is being offered globally. We have been in the field of self-loading concrete mixers, which are very versatile machines. These machines have a hydraulic sensing which is a pressure transducer and a device to add the weigh batching of aggregate, cement and water. Now, we are improving the accuracy of a weigh batching that is very critical in the quality of the concrete. Of late, We’ve come up with load cell based weigh batching system and incidentally, we’ve also applied for a patent for that and it is pending.

Similarly, we had the boom pump which is normally mounted on a truck chassis and is easily available in the market. But, we felt that the normal truck chassis has a limitation of working in certain some job sites where the conditions are slushy or a gradient exists. These are all two-wheel drive machines. So, came up with self-loading mixers, on a four wheel setting. We had to integrate the two variants and put the boom into a chassis such that it remains operational in any site conditions. This ultimately led to the genesis of the self-propelled boom pump, which among other products we did showcase at the Excon fair.

Would you agree that the current Govt gives precedence to the infrastructure projects?
It definitely gets the precedence. The problem with the previous government was that they put everything under the National Highway projects under the BOT scheme. And under the BOT scheme, the private sector is actually pumping in money for building the entire project and then the returns come in the form of toll. But in that case, land acquisition which is a critical part of the project also has to be managed by the respective builder or the infrastructure company and it is a contentious issue. Because land is something that the government has to negotiate. Owing to this a lot of projects did not get a financial closure.

The present government gave NHAI the power to acquire land whereas the contractor is required to participate in his capacities as an EPC contractor. In this model, pumping in money remains a challenge even for the NHAI. So a hybrid model needs to be in place which includes a commitment from the government body, the private player and the banks. The idea is to create a win-win situation where no one loses.

Tell us something about your after sales service and your training program for newbies.
Today, we have a network of almost 30 dealers and a robust system to address the after-sales and services. Interestingly, you will find an Ajax network every 200 km to address your concerns that none of our competitors ever had. The critical thing now is the training of operators. We have an existing training program at our factory and incidentally we also have the Ajax school of concrete, which is a training school. The school offers a 21day training program for operators and college freshers. After the training, they are provided with a certificate which makes them eligible to operate not just our product but any product, even the ones manufactured by other brands.

Debasis Bhattacharya, Head – Marketing, Sales & Product Support,Ajax Engineering Pvt Ltd

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