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Concentrate on core competence

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As I was heading towards the Trichy airport following my visit to Karaikal, my car stopped at one place.

 From the long queue of vehicles ahead, I figured out that it was a railway crossing line. Later, a train stopped by for some time and then moved on. The crossing opened and the other vehicles including my car started to move. A railway station called Needamangalam emerged on one side as the car passed the railway line. Surprisingly, I could see the station even on the other side. Well, the railway crossing actually cuts right through the platform of a railway junction! My co-passenger quickly remarked: “This happens only in India.”

The railway crossing at Needamangalam (India’s present chief election commissioner N Gopalaswami hails from here!) is reflective of India’s ongoing infrastructure story to a great extent. We have been allowing our immediate needs to blind us to the long-term effects of our actions. 

A railway crossing (and that too right through the station) means loss of time, fuel and consequently of money. Why can’t we have a flyover constructed – particularly when we have the wherewithal? Very soon, the Karaikal Port would be ready and this route would be abuzz with traffic 24/7. Cost can be a deterrent only if we think short-term. It is this lack of far-sightedness that has been an impediment in the progress of several associated sectors including the RMC industry. It is a fact that this industry neglected certain key issues while the boom was on and failed to look beyond the mad rush at hand.

The Indian RMC sector too has been impacted by the ongoing financial crisis. Big players have shelved their expansion plans for the time being, while some local players have had to close down their plants. Companies that have had bigger exposure to the real sector have taken the maximum blow.

The general feeling within the industry is a bitgloomy and understandably so but there are some who think that the recession is actually good as it will wipe out the fly-by-night operators and leave behind the genuine players. Thanks to the ongoing infrastructure projects, there is sufficient demand. The problem is – there are no sufficient funds to fulfil these demands. Well, it is a matter of survival out there – at least for now.

The market will certainly bounce back. And despite the slowdown, the Indian RMC sector continues to be a high growth sector in the long term. Till then, it is time to re-strategise and concentrate on core competence.

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June 2020
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