Incepted in 1987 and Headquartered in Mumbai, Balkrishna Industries Limited (BKT) is a leading manufacturer in the Off-Highway tire market. Ashok P Chhajer, GM – OE Sales, BKT Tires, talks about BKT’s expansion plans in India and his belief that a turnaround in the health of the construction sector is eminent.

ould you talk about your expansion plans?

Our top management is overlooking the implementation of the expansion plan. It will include end-to-end automation; right from raw material handling to production of the end product. Nevertheless it is expensive and ambitious, but we have been known to do things differently. The existing Aurangabad plant will be relocated to a new location to bring this expansion plan into action.

So, you are saying the relocation has begun. Have you finalised everything?
Yes everything is done and the work is on, in full swing. The new site is based in Aurangabad itself.Butthe location is different; the location is bigger and can help in achieving the desired capacity augmentation.

Something like the facility you have in Bhuj?
No. Bhuj is a massive property about 350 acres and this one is relatively smaller. From the existing facility which is spread across 15 to 20 acres, we are going for a facility which will be spread across 30 acres to 35 acres.

So, this capacity expansion that you’re doing, is it keeping in mind the Indian market or the international market?
BKT caters to a global market. And now we have started addressing the needs of the Indian market too. It is needless to say that BKT is a global brand. So, whatever we do, we keep in mind the needs and requirements of our global product market.

BKT is a global player and much of its market is overseas. At the same time the market share of BKT in the domestic market has increased from 8 per cent to 15 per cent. Yes India as a market fits into our global aspirations. We are growing and will continue to grow.

With your global expertise in place what are your key focus areas?
Initially our sole focus was on the domestic agricultural market. In the last four years we have become even more aggressive about it. This has a lot to do with the response to our COMMANDER range of tires. At the same time we remain bullish about product offerings in the construction and mining sector which includes the OTR tire range.

As one of the key industry player, do you have any feedback for the government?
Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport & Highways of India, in his inauguratory Excon speech covered all the areas. He detailed out the government’s plans with regards to construction and infrastructure. This has added a lot of faith in the minds of the participants at Excon. These projects have a lot of business potential and we all keen to capitalize.

So, you are very happy with the way things are going currently?
I agree that the construction sector is not in the best of health. Having said that it is necessary to arrest the stagnation and create opportunities. After listening to union minister Nitin Gadkari, I believe the government remains optimistic and is keen to ensure the sector flourishes. So, I am banking on the promises which have been made and hopefully everything will be in place.

Ashok P Chhajer, GM – OE Sales, BKT Tires

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