The stalwarts of the CE industry deliberated on the Green Initiatives in the 4th Equipment India Conference held during the India Construction Festival.“The 4th Equipment India conference begins with a positive note, and I believe the silver lining at the edge of the dark cloud is here. I say this even after hearing a lot of gloomy sentiments, in the past two days,” said Pratap Padode, Editor-in-Chief – Equipment India & Managing Director, ASAPP Media Information Group, in his welcome speech. “As per the data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), 793 industrial and infrastructural projects worth Rs 2.2 lakh crore were scheduled for completion in the quarter ending June 2012 but only 124 projects entailing an investment of Rs 18,523 crore were completed on time. The data also shows that projects worth almost Rs 8.9 lakh crore are scheduled to be completed during July 2012-March 2013. Even if half of these get done on time, the total commissioning during 2012-13 will be the highest ever seen by the industry in a single year,” he said.Padode added, “In order to keep our growth engines of GDP chugging at over eight per cent, we need our power sector to expedite project execution, and the target of 78,000 MW set is an absolute must during the 12th Five Year Plan. Once the Dedicated Freight Corridor from Mumbai to Delhi and the Easter Corridor from Ludhiana to Kolkata, very ambition projects, start rolling, they can give a fillip to the otherwise sagging industry.”Speaking about the overview and sales forecast for the CE industry Samir Bansal, General Manager – India, Off Highway Research said, “The prime factor favouring the growth of the construction equipment industry is the sheer scale of work yet to be done in the infrastructure sector. With an investment of nearly $1.0 trillion on infrastructure planned by the government in 12th Five Year Plan, high long term growth prospects of the of construction equipment industry are very positive indeed.”Samir added, “However, currently the country is passing through a lean phase currently as various bottlenecks in project execution such as land acquisition, environment and forestry clearances, high rates of inflation and interest, long term financing and liquidity issues of the contractors, are hampering the construction and mining activities in the country. Recent policy decisions by the government indicate that the positive business sentiment may return quickly.Despite the challenges, Off-Highway Research remains bullish about the long term prospects of the Indian construction equipment market. It forecasts sales of construction equipment to grow at a CAGR of 9.6 per cent to peak at 114,000 units in 2016.Samir further points out, “The sentiment is still weak in the traditional markets of the developed western world, which are expected to witness a modest recovery, but would remain much below the peak achieved in 2007. China, the world’s largest construction equipment market, that has built huge manufacturing capacities, is also witnessing a downturn for the first time in 2012, and is expected to remain below the peak achieved in 2011. This means that all international manufacturers will be focusing on the lucrative Indian market and the competition is expected to intensify. This may lead to higher penetration especially by Chinese manufacturers, who have a price advantage, but need to develop contemporary technologies, distribution and product support capabilities.”The 4th Equipment India conference, held during the India Construction Festival with its major focus on Green Initiatives, has been a success, and it is really heartening to note that ICEMA (Indian Construction Equipment Manufacturers Association) is on the right track, deliberating with different ministries to set up the much needed emission norms that can really help green the CE industry.Delivering the theme address, `Green initiatives – energy and fuel-efficient equipment and machinery,` Vikram Sharma, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Kobelco Construction Equipment, said “It is true that we cannot help adding to the emission problems as we need to burn fuel, but if the same amount of work, the same amount of output, can be achieved more efficiently and faster, with less fuel and energy, the CE industry will really be contributing to the process of greening.” Pointing out the limitations, Sharma said, “For many other industries, there are renewable energy solutions; these are not available to the CE industry.” Pointing out that the industry does not have the required policies to curtail emissions, Sharma affirmed that the Indian Construction Equipment Manufacturers Association, (ICEMA) is doing a good job interacting with different ministries to set up emission norms.“Whatever is good for the environment is good for business,” stated AM Muralidharan, President, Volvo Construction Equipment India, while delivering a talk on the `Changing technology trends in the CE sector.` Pointing out the high cost involved in development of new technology, he said that ultimately, everything had to be commercially viable. He said the need for more fuel/ energy efficient machines has been driven by two key reasons: one, the genuine and increased focus on the environmental impact that burning fuel creates, and two, the cost of operations of maintaining equipment through fuel emissions. It is good to see customers demanding fuel efficiency as a key requirement in construction equipment, since this signified a conscious change and more importantly, downscaled the impact on the environment. Muralidharan said, “Due to the nature of their operations, construction equipment does consume significant amount of fuel; bearing this in mind and as responsible corporate citizens, vendors like Volvo CE have kept fuel efficiency a core element in engine design.”“Lately, we have been seeing customers make purchase decisions based on machine efficiency. Increase in diesel costs put adds responsibility on the machines to be more efficient in terms of consumption. This has also led to a shift in terms of expectation. Based on our experience, customers today look out for lowest cost of operation for products offered, along with good service agreements.” Muralidharan added.Ruefully pointing out how we abuse the privileges ourselves, Jehangir Ardeshir, President & Managing Director, Terex India said, “The wheel of progress need to move on; towards this, we need added responsibility from the different stakeholders towards less polluting and more efficient and productive machines that take care of the environment. It is up to us to be responsible in what we do and how we do it, reducing the impact not just on the environment but also on the people who are affected by the process of development and progress.” Ardeshir was speaking on the topic, 'CE sector Challenges - high inflation, high cost of funding, increasing input cost of energy and materials and skills shortage.'“The show must go on, we need to look aggressively at the way we do business, and we need to adjust and accommodate ourselves to this market, in the future,” said Hemant Mathur, Head - Construction Equipment Business, Larsen & Toubro.Detailed Report will be featured in the November edition.