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‘We want to make DCI a Navaratna company’

Posted on August 20, 2015

Having assumed charge as chairman and managing director of Dredging Corporation of India(DCI) in February earlier this year, Rajesh Tripathi is now not only planning to consolidate the dredging firm’s presence in India but is also looking to expand the company’s footprint to foreign shores. The 53-year-old Indian Engineering Service officer joined the Indian Railways in 1984 and held important positions such as project director of Ircon (Ircon International Limited) and chief engineer of Jammu Kashmir Railway Project. In an exclusive interview with Manish of TOI, the DCI CMD speaks about the way forward for India’s lone state-run dredger.

What are the projects that DCI is currently executing in the country?

At major ports, our existing projects include maintenance dredging for Haldia Port, Ennore Portand Cochin Port. We are also doing some capital dredging and maintenance dredging inVisakhapatnam Port. We are also gearing up to work for Andaman & Nicobar, Daman & Diu,Karwar and Ratnagiri. We carry about 80% of the maintenance dredging and 10% capital dredging in the entire country.

What are the other projects that DCI is exploring?

We are also looking at new areas and are keen to take up projects abroad, which we are pursuing with various agencies. Secondly, we want to take up project management consultancy as we have a huge pool of technical experts with knowhow about various types of dredging projects in our company. The third thing is we are planning to go for shallow water dredging as well as river dredging, sand mining, beach nourishment, land reclamation projects in the country.

The central government is keen on executing the ambitious Sagarmala project. Will DCI play a part in it?

Yes, we are talking to the Sagarmala Development Authority, which is the nodal authority for the project. We expressed our willingness to participate in the Sagarmala project and wherever we can contribute we will certainly do.

Is DCI also planning to contribute to the development of inland waterways in the country?

We have been talking to Inland Waterways Authority of India for the Ganga, Yamuna and Godavari projects apart from the Buckingham Canal project. We want to be the nodal agency carrying out development of waterways on these rivers as well as the canal.

What will be DCI’s role in the Ganga project?

The Ganga project involves dredging to a depth of three metres to help 2,000-tonne barges transport coal from Haldia to Farakka to Patna to Allahabad. We are the only government agency in the country that has specialisation in dredging so we can execute the entire project stretch to maintain three metres draft for the inland waterways on the river Ganga.

Any specific inland waterways dredging projects being planned in AP?

The state government has invited us for sand mining in the Krishna river, where the new capital is coming up. Apart from that, we have offered our services to the National Waterways Authority of India for the development of the Godavari river waterway and Buckingham canal. Probably, as soon as funds are arranged for the projects, we will be roped in.

AP is also planning to develop three minor ports in the state. Do you see this as an opportunity for DCI?

We are in touch with the state government and have expressed interest in these projects. Wherever help is needed by the state government, we will be there to support AP. As we are located in Vizag, it is our duty to develop state projects.

Are you looking at taking up dredging projects in foreign countries?

Middle East and Far East along with Northern Africa are the real cash markets where projects are coming up and we would like to associate with projects in those countries. We don’t have any particular targets set as yet, but we are talking to concerned authorities to take things forward.

What revenue is DCI targeting in the current fiscal?

We are targeting a revenue of Rs 850 crore in domestic dredging and Rs 100 crore in international dredging projects during the current fiscal.

Is DCI aiming to become a Navaratna company? How do you plan to achieve it?

In our mission statement, we have said we want to take this organisation to new heights and make it a Navaratna company. We are aiming to achieve this target by diversifying and participating in international dredging projects, shallow-water projects as well as project consultancy. These areas can give DCI a good fillip.

What is the status of the Sethusamudram Project? DCI has to receive around Rs 350 crore for its contribution to the project. Have those issues been sorted out?

The issues of the Sethusamudram project have been sorted out. But whether the project will be taken up again depends on the ports and shipping ministry. If they give the go ahead, we’ll take up the project again. The financial aspects pertaining to the project are also under the active consideration of the ministry.

Is DCI planning to add any new dredgers to its fleet?

We are trying to add another dredger to our fleet in the next two to three years. Let us see how things work out because the economic scenario is not so good. In such a sluggish scenario, should we go for acquisition is something we have to decide. The plan to acquire a dredger in association with Paradip Port was in the pipeline, but has not yet materialised.

What are the immediate focus areas for DCI?

We are trying to bag projects in the Middle East and Far East. We also want to be management consultants for various projects. We are also trying for dredging jobs for navy projects. DCI will come out with flying colours. The next Independence Day will be a better Independence Day for us.

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