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Machines that shape our world

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In 1586, Pope Sixtus V threw a challenge for the engineers of Rome. An obelisk (a stone shaft) weighing 331 tonnes and measuring 83.6 feet in length was to be erected at the St Peter’s Square.

First part of the challenge was to transport the obelisk from another place to the St Peter’s Square. The transportation itself took about 1000 men, 140 carthorses and 18 days. The next stage – of erecting it – foxed even the great Michelangelo.

Then, an engineer named Domenico Fontana came up with a small wooden model and demonstrated how the obelisk could be lifted. Sixtus liked it. Although even Fontana wasn’t very confident about his piece of engineering, it worked. The piece of engineering was, of course, a crane.

There are several such examples in ancient history including from India where our ancestors have achieved innumerable marvels using such engineering equipment. Today, of course, these equipment have undergone tremendous technological advancements and continue to shape our world.

We at Construction Week India realise the significance of relevant equipment and machinery in powering the construction and infrastructure sector.

That is why we are doing a cover story on this sector in this issue – our 3rd. This sector’s progress is directly linked with that of construction industry. Although the slowdown in real estate has already hit a segment of construction equipment industry, things look better on the infrastructure front.

 And the industry  too hasn’t given up as yet and continues to have faith in India’s infrastructure story. There’s every possibility of materialisation of the potential growth of the sector envisaged in a study by Mckinsey.

Done for the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Indian Earthmoving, Construction Equipment Industry Association Ltd, this study had assessed that the sector could grow five times of its current market size by 2015.

 Why not? The key players in this sector are focusing on growth in a very healthy manner. The emphasis on R&D, indigenisation and training will do them and the country’s infrastructure a lot of good. Of course, the government too needs to do its bit for this sector as well as for the construction industry in general.

We welcome the recent fiscal measures taken by the government. The decision to prioritise housing loans up to Rs20 lakh, concessional treatment to banks lending to builders, reduction of excise duty and the fiscal stimulus for infrastructure development are positive steps.

These measures will pave way for the much require liquidity and reduction in building material costs.

Do share your views with us.

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