“PEOPLE ARE OUR ONLY ASSET.”
Dhanaji Hariba Mangude
Construction Manager (Mechanical), RREC
Dhanaji Mangude finds inspiration in the words of one of our founding fathers. Henning Holck-Larsen once said, “Machines may be there. Building may be there but without people it is nothing. People are our only asset.” At the Aurangabad – Karodi Road project, during the times of the pandemic, not just Dhanaji but all of mankind has realized that the pressing need is to stay safe and save people’s lives. “We also have the responsibility to achieve our committed project milestones,” he nods his head and therefore he and his team have also been hard at work to push progress.
“To start with, retaining our labour force was our key consideration,” he points out, “arranging for their rations and medical facilities and arranging for conveyance and logistics of materials.” All equipment were taken into maintenance during the lockdown to extract maximum productivity levels from them and all major issues with machines were identified and rectified such that they could be used at full throttle when work resumed.
We maintained a perfect balance between work and personal life with flexible training schedules to motivate workmen better so that they feel committed to the project.
Once the restrictions were removed, Dhanaji and team ensured total availability of resources across all work fronts with healthcare their top priority. “We maintained a perfect balance between work and personal life with flexible training schedules to motivate workmen better so that they feel committed to the project,” he shares. “By staying connected with the workmen throughout this phase, we not only helped them to stay motivated but even improved their skillsets with various training sessions.” They were trained to handle complex and critical situations too.
Dhanaji has no doubt that their success has been the result of excellent teamwork. “Everyone has played their part wonderfully,” he smiles, which he feels is an outstanding quality of L&T, a company he joined in 2006 starting with his first project, the 88-km Vadodara-Bharuch road project. “Since then, I have worked at the Ahmedabad-Maliya, Kisangarh-Udiapur-Ahmedabad & BP road projects, the Sindudurg Domestic Airport, Unnao- Lucknow Expressway and the Jabalpur-Lakkanadun road project before KARP.”
An interesting aspect of Dhanaji’s career is that his first posting was with the Indian Army at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. “It was a truly mesmerizing experience and made me love my country even more,” he shares patriotically. Hailing from Solapur in Maharashtra, he was married to Vidyarani till she passed away and he is blessed with two children, Shruti and Aditya. “I like to read and do data analysis for future planning,” he shares about his pastime.
Uma Sankar Mahapatra
Manager (Accounts), RREC
The pandemic has drastically changed our lives: it has challenged us, it has exposed our frailties and it has taught us so many new things. At his Aurangabad Karodi Road project, Uma Sankar Mahapatra has realized that without labour, there can be no progress and without teamwork, there can be no success. “I believe that individually one cannot achieve any milestone at any project, it is always the team that achieves it,” he says with conviction. “Our project involves huge structure exposure and I have personally witnessed the level of teamwork irrespective of cadre and hierarchy with everyone jumping in to address our real challenge after the lockdown which was to mobilize labour.”
Apart from having to re-mobilize fresh labour, the onus on the team was also to retain those who chose to stay put in the labour colonies. “They stayed back only because we took good care of their needs with our Project and Construction Managers interacting with them regularly to reassure them that they had nothing to worry.” While one team arranged for the transport to bring in fresh labour, the planning team engaged with vendors to finalize rates for material and consumables.
“In road projects, permissions from the mining and revenue departments are of great importance for progress,” points out Uma Sankar, who is currently at his second road project with L&T after an earlier stint at the Kanakotra Jharsuguda Road project in his home state of Odisha, looking after admin and accounts. “It is thanks to the continuous and rigorous follow up of our IR and admin teams with the Government mining department that helped us obtain approvals for speedy execution.”
Normally, the finance & admin departments play a facilitating or supporting role to the mainstream front line production team but, as he mentions, “during the pandemic, we acted as frontline workmen to protect our people – our own staff, department workmen and subcontractor labour – by maintaining our momentum of welfare measures across all fronts.” Uma Sankar is particularly pleased that thanks to all their measures, there has not been a single COVID-19 victim at their entire project.
From Berhampur in Odisha, Uma Sankar is married to Rashmitha Padhy, a homemaker, and they are blessed with a daughter, Vaishnavi, whose birth is one of his life’s most wonderful moments. “My hobbies are cooking, walking and listening to music,” he smiles.
“I am proud to be associated with an organization like L&T and whenever L&T is in the news for the infrastructure we build, it makes my parents proud!”
For the last seven years, Pankaj Kale has been working on three different road projects with L&T starting in 2013 with the Amravati Jalgaon road project on completion of which he moved to the Sambalpur Rourkela road project in Odisha. Presently, he is at the Karodi Aurangabad road project in Maharashtra, which is also his home state. “I am responsible for all structure works in Section 1 from KM 290 to 304,” he shares, purposefully. Challenges of road projects are therefore not new for Pankaj but those that arose due to the pandemic were, primarily the labour crisis. “To complete the work in time and get our bonus, retention of labour was crucial.”
L&T is a very big brand and famous for its cultural and professional work ethics and being a part of such a company resonates with my ideology of working culture.
With proper planning and deployment of resources including labour according to the requirements of work, “we achieved our 2nd milestone 219 days before the contractual date,” grins Pankaj. “To maintain this run rate and achieve our 3rd milestone took a lot of doing.” They maintained their rate of productivity by retaining most of the labour force and obtained timely permissions from the concerned authorities to move resources and other logistics. “We are proud to say that we achieved our next milestone 179 days earlier than the contractual date,” declares Pankaj, triumphantly.
“We prepared work programmes for the month, shared them with all the staff and workmen to set their targets and then supported them at each level, be it with resources or materials,” Pankaj explains their plan of action. “With Procube, we tracked progress against the micro level programme. We followed up regularly and rigorously and motivated our people to resolve all issues at site level.” The reasons for their success are obvious.
Land clearances are normally a huge roadblock for road projects for they involve the Forest authorities and other major governing organizations. “In our project we obtained clearances in a record time of only about 6 months because of our consistent follow up and, in the process, resolved issues pending for 8 years and completed a stretch of 2.7 KM in a single and unobstructed way!” Pankaj’s sense of achievement is palpable.
On his personal front, Pankaj is married to Shubhangi, who is a home tutor, and they are blessed with two children, Rudra and Parush.
“L&T is a very big brand and famous for its cultural and professional work ethics,” he shares proudly. “and being a part of such a company resonates with my ideology of working culture.”
FOLLOW UP IS KEY TO MAINTAINING PROGRESS
Senior Construction Manager (Civil), RREC
If there is one thing to ensure that work gets done in time and to quality, it is follow up. It works in all situations and, especially at project sites, as Bharat Singh has discovered not just at his present site, the Karodi-Aurangabad Road Project, but at all the eight other projects that he has been involved with at L&T. “To maintain progress at site I follow up with the site team every 8 hours,” he begins. “To ensure adequate supply of raw material I constantly follow up with the stores, procurement, and planning departments, for the required quantum of machinery, I follow up with the P&M department and I follow up with the workmen and contractor twice a day for smooth functioning at site.”
The biggest challenge that Bharat faced at his site on resumption of operations after the lockdown was the severe monsoon that was threatening to double the challenges for the project team that was already combatting the pandemic. “To ensure progress, I mobilised additional agencies for the construction of the RE Wall and drafted in additional teams for the structures and found additional burrow areas,” says Bharat, ticking off his steps on his hand. “We continuously monitored progress against our daily plans and,” he smiles as he repeats, “we did round-the-clock work and follow up.” Helping the team improve their efficiency were digital tools like Procube for project monitoring. TORQ for internal observations and NCs and RTR in their effort to keep the site safe.
To maintain progress at site I follow up with the site team every 8 hours. To ensure adequate supply of raw material I constantly follow up with the stores, procurement, and planning departments, for the required quantum of machinery, I follow up with the P&M department and I follow up with the workmen and contractor twice a day for smooth functioning at site.
To put these additional teams, mobilizing manpower post the lockdown was another huge challenge for which the team arranged special buses from the neighbouring States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Bengal, and Chhattisgarh and succeeded to mobilize some 500 workmen. “Our client was very supportive,” he nods, “readily agreeing to frequent online meetings and giving us digital approvals for drawings, burrow areas, and the like. The local authorities also helped us with clearances and approvals whenever necessary.” Bharat is thankful to his seniors for their timely approval of budgets and other critical site-based decisions to ensure smooth execution and to his team members for their support and hard work.
Bharat is from Banswara in Rajasthan and is married to Kusum Choudhury who is a Project Planning Consultant. They are blessed with a daughter, Diva. “I love watching movies and playing outdoor games but due to my tough working hours I hardly get time to pursue them,” he says sadly though he fondly recalls a trip to the Andamans.
“I am proud to be part of such a big organization,” he says simply, in conclusion.
Project Manager (RREC)
He is flying high and the reason for Project Manager, Vikram Kohli’s elation is for achieving a significant milestone at his EDFC CP 303 project of constructing the Gulaothi Yard. “It is the first depot of its kind across all DFCCIL projects that can receive rails directly on rail racks,” he shares proudly, “and we completed unloading 7,000 MT of rails right in the middle of the pandemic.” The CP 303 project that is a 225 km stretch from Khurja to Pilkhani in western Uttar Pradesh is Vikram’s first with L&T although he brings with him rich experience of over 22 years having worked, as he says, “at some of the finest projects in the country including the Buddh International Circuit, Eastern Peripheral Expressway and the Yamuna Expressway, to name but a few.”
Vikram and team restarted operations on May 6th after the unlock and were immediately faced with the challenge to get back workmen and replenish resources. “Remobilizing subcontractors was even more difficult and since most of our work is machine-oriented, we gave them to subcontractors on a back-to-back basis,” he inforTheir concerted efforts soon increased their labour strength from 200 to 750 and their earthwork teams from 23 to 43 by mid-June. “Our strategy was very simple,” he smiles disarmingly, “we knew our targets and we executed our works to keep up with those targets.”
“My team members have been pillars of strength during these tough times, always ready for all kinds of challenges,” mentions a grateful Vikram. “They are always ready to put their best foot forward and complete the task within schedules. Our seniors have been a great support too, keeping me, and my team motivated. Our Project Director, Arun Kumar Singh has been another pillar of strength, always leading from the front.”
Mindful of the project’s profitability, following the mantra of ‘Chase Cash’, “we approached our client, DFCCIL, for a one-time payment for all our invoices held up due to stage payments.”
Fortunately, the client agreed that was a huge relief for the project. Efficiency at site was also a result of the various digital tools that the team adopted. “We monitor project progress through Procube, concrete allocation through ConEase and high-speed diesel management through Asset Insight,” shares Vikram. Their purchase request register is in a Planning Module and GPS based log sheets manage vehicle movement.
Hailing from Jammu, Vikram says, “I am happily married to Shaveta who is currently a homemaker and a caring mother for our lovely daughter, Aarshia and son, Arnav.” Since information is power, he keeps himself abreast of all the latest.
“Project management in L&T is one of the best I have seen in the industry that gives one the freedom to work independently and take decisions in the best interests of the work,” he signs of proud of his company.
Senior DGM (Civil), RREC
Ever since the country unlocked and operations resumed at the WDFC CTP 14 project, Pachipulusu Sreeramamurthy has been busy resolving issues of various stakeholders to ensure that the site makes progress. “Our primary object was to mobilize the labour force again and, at the same time, develop confidence in our staff and work force to work in the pandemic situation,” he says seriously. “We realized that it was important to motivate our people and keep our contractors in the right frame of mind to contribute and therefore we meet them regularly to resolve their issues and have even declared incentives for them on achieving targets, increasing resources, the workforce and so on.”
Murthy and his team, for their part, have focused on critical activities and are doing everything to push progress. “We conduct daily meetings with all the key people to monitor progress and resolve issues on a day-to-day basis,” he shares. “Our Client has been a tower of strength,” he acknowledges. “They encouraged and supported as they too were under pressure from the Ministry of Railways to complete the project before the earlier fixed target. They have supported us with earthwork contractors and to get borrow areas in a critical time of the crop season.”
At site, CC TV cameras have been put up to monitor all stock, crusher, and weigh bridge locations 24/7. “As logistics play a key role in our project, we have fixed GPS devices on all transport vehicles to monitor them regularly that has improved the number of trips and productivity,” Murthy mentions.
It was obvious that progress was only possible with a healthy labour force and hence the team strove to keep the labour safe and well cared for. “Apart from the normal safety protocols, we even tied up with local hospitals and have a WhatsApp group to take care of anyone in need,” points out Murthy, who is extremely thankful to his seniors and HQ for their valuable support. “They have helped a lot with timely approvals for our proposals, with extra resources like contractors and transport vehicles and, most importantly, they review our progress every week. From our side, our team members have supported by putting in their best efforts.”
Hailing from Eluru in Andhra Pradesh, Murthy is married to P S L Rajeswari, a homemaker, and they are blessed with two children: daughter, Chandini and son, Vamsi Krishna. He loves to garden during his free time and considers his marriage and daughter’s birth as some of his life’s more memorable moments.
“I am extremely proud that L&T completed the iconic Statue of Unity and several other unique projects in record time,” he declares in conclusion.
FIGHTING THE KUCH NAHI HOTA HAIN ATTITUDE TO SUCCEED
DGM (Civil), RREC
As Planning Head of the CTP 14 project, Priyang Panchal has the responsibility to expedite major activities like earthwork, crushing and blanketing to meet his Client’s demand that the project must be completed by January 2022. “This has put immense pressure on us to meet our milestones to increase resources within the stipulated budget. With the pandemic, we were facing even bigger challenges of remobilization of all resources, the major one being labour mobilization,” he points out. “It is very difficult to make our workforce and contractors understand and implement the protocols and beat their “kuch nahin hota hain” attitude,” laments Priyang, “for which we have a task force committee to strictly implement our action plan.”
L&T has a different work culture, which gives every employee a chance to grow irrespective of cadre or portfolio, the opportunity to develop his/her personal and professional skills and the company believes in developing next gen leaders by believing in them.
The per day target for Priyang and his team are to achieve 35,000 cum of earthwork, 12,000 MT of daily crushing to meet a revised schedule and 10,000 MT of blanketing. “For expediting the work, our strategy was to create a task force, to micro plan and monitor progress with continuous review with management for improvement to achieve the desired milestones. In the process, we even set a crushing record of 14,000 MT in a single day with 26.5 mm downsize product,” he shares proudly, adding that they have presently achieved 8,000 MT daily levels of blanketing that is increasing day by day.
The team have daily discussions with the Dy. Project Director & Project Manager and weekly meetings with HQ to ensure that they are on the right track. “All milestones and micro plans were discussed in detail with seniors and peers with everyone involved in the decision making and implementation,” mentions Priyang. “In fact, due to the pandemic and early completion requirement by the client, rock excavation and blanket crushing became critical, and we quickly added 7 more crushers in a month without any financial implications.”
The Client had their stringent guidelines for following COVID protocols, monthly review meetings and daily reports. “Recognizing our situation, they increased the lead time for material delivery and services, and we accordingly revised our work and material requirement schedules.”
Priyang is from Vadodara in Gujarat and is married to Amruta who is working as a Manager in Royal Sales & Service and they are blessed with two children, daughter, Darshini and son, Aarsh. During his free time, Priyang likes to listen to music and travel.
“Being selected by L&T was a dream come true for me,” he says. “L&T has a different work culture, which gives every employee a chance to grow irrespective of cadre or portfolio, the opportunity to develop his/her personal and professional skills and the company believes in developing next gen leaders by believing in them.”
IT IS CRITICAL TO KEEP THINGS MOVING
Krunal Dilipkumar Shah
Senior Manager (Civil) QA/QC, RREC
Pandemic or not, one thing was clear in Krunal Shah’s mind that until agencies made profit, it would be difficult to retain them and therefore impossible for him and his team to drive progress at their Western Dedicated Freight Corridor CTP14 project, 128 km section from Rewari to Dadri. “We therefore took every effort to avoid idling of the resources of agencies to make it profitable for them at the agreed lowest negotiated rates,” he stresses. “We also closely coordinated with the transporting agencies and various functional departments to push our case.”
When work resumed after the lockdown, Krunal was faced with multiple challenges relating to mobilizing workmen, lab technicians, supervisors, resources, vehicles, and spiking Corona cases at site. “Our Client was reluctant to come to inspect our material that were being sourced from outside the city and State. We also had to manage the statutory regulations of three States.”
We formed inspection teams that helped us to improve our quality of workmanship of earth retaining structures, blankets, and earthwork due to which our project received an excellent product quality rating in the ‘Customer Satisfaction Report’ last year.
For Krunal and team, the solution lay in continuous follow up with the various agencies and close coordination with the client for various approvals of method statements, borrow areas and the like. “We formed inspection teams to check the quality parameters at site to win our client’s faith,” he remarks. “These teams also helped us to improve our quality of workmanship of earth retaining structures, blankets, and earthwork due to which our project received an excellent product quality rating in the ‘Customer Satisfaction Report’ last year,” he shares proudly. Along with quality control and assurance, Krunal has been playing a key role in overall logistics and resource management of the project. “Our main focus was always to set a target, review it daily, finetune logistics in our crushing plan, production & consumption and monitor the productivity of our agencies’ vehicles,” he says sharing his vision for project success.
Krunal is happy about the good relationship he has successfully built with the Client that has eased procuring approvals and removing bottlenecks in activities. “In fact, we once received approval for an all-in-one blanket design which ultimately increased the crusher productivity by 10% and subsequently pushed progress of the blanket layer,” he shares with satisfaction. He is appreciative of his Quality Team. “It is only with their support that I have been able to perform my dual responsibilities. My seniors always put faith in me and encouraged me to push and keep myself one step ahead.”
Krunal’s better half is Meeta, a homemaker, and they are blessed with a son, Vraj. “I like listening to music, visiting new places, reading articles pertaining to share trading and financial analysis of the company,” he shares. “My memorable moments are when my son was born and my father’s hug when I was selected by L&T,” where he finds great freedom to work and the opportunity to innovate.
“NOTHING CAN STOP YOU IF YOU ARE FOCUSED ON YOUR GOALS!”
Sanjay Anant Dadhe
Construction Manager (Civil), RREC
Sanjay Dadhe is inspired by India’s Olympic Gold Medallist, Abhinav Bindra, who says, “In it to win it!” Sanjay reaffirms that “nothing can stop or obstruct you if you are focussed on your goals,” and as he and his team at his Western Dedicated Freight Corridor Phase 2, Integrated Contract Package project at Bhiwadi in Rajasthan, battle the challenges created by COVID-19, he shrugs his shoulders nonchalantly. “We have done nothing new; we have only focused and chased our goals.”
With clear purpose, he says that their main challenge was to restart work by bringing back the agencies. “We inducted them to follow all the safety norms and insisted the workmen to strictly follow all the protocols. My stretch is divided between the states of Haryana and Rajasthan,” he remarks, “and we took all the necessary approvals in time to ensure progress that we monitored physically.” They also helped procure approvals from the local authorities for some of their subcontractors who were from the local areas to ensure that they returned to work.
We also focused on invoicing segments so that progress was maintained, and invoices generated. In fact we have generated the highest amount of invoicing among all the sections during the pandemic period.
“We also focused on invoicing segments so that progress was maintained, and invoices generated. In fact,” he adds with a wide smile, “we have generated the highest amount of invoicing among all the sections during the pandemic period.” WhatsApp groups kept the team well connected, monitor progress and address problems as and when they arose. “Our seniors were supportive, were always available whenever we needed their guidance or advice and gave us a free hand to work which helped speed up progress,” he shares acknowledging the enabling role site leadership is playing.
Sanjay started his journey with L&T on May 15th, 2006 and has enjoyed the ride thus far having been involved in several important road projects. “Neither my organization nor my seniors have ever asked me to compromise on quality for the sake of progress or economy,” he declares. “I have never missed my home loan EMIs as I have always received my salary in time for the last 15 years,” undoubtedly proud of the organization he is a part of.
Sanjay hails from Vadodara in Gujarat, is married to Smita, a homemaker, and their family is complete with his 13-year-old daughter, Saumya and 9-year-old son, Kushal. “I like reading newspapers and current affairs magazines,” he shares about his hobbies. “I also love to do Copywriting and am planning to spare time for it,” he smiles. “I was speechless when I saw the Konark Temple and the ghats of Banaras and was surprised how one can construct such beautiful monuments with such less resources!”