Projects that Define India
PMI India

Projects that Define India
At 226 meters – three times taller than the Qutab Minar in Delhi – the Bhakra Dam is among the highest gravity dams in the world. It used up 100,000 tonnes of steel and enough concrete to lay a 2.4-meter-wide path around the Earth's Equator. The dam's 168 sq. km Gobind Sagar reservoir can store 9,621 million cubic meters of water, which is 10 times the capacity of Srinagar's Dal Lake.

Temple of Resurgent India
The ‘temple of resurgent India', as Nehru termed Bhakra Nangal project, turned the Punjab-Haryana region into the "Food Bowl" of India. It helped irrigate 26,304 sq. km of new land and improved irrigation in another 3,642 sq. km. In all, it irrigates 40,000 sq. km of farm land. The much acclaimed Green Revolution of the 1960s would have been impossible without the staggering amount of water it supplies. In addition, it has an installed capacity to generate 1,479 MW of electricity.

Massive Engineering Feat
It took 13,000 workers and 300 engineers to build this concrete straight gravity dam – a massive ‘wall' that resists the thrust of water by its weight. The dam is designed to hold back water in the reservoir and send it through the narrow, rocky gorge below at a managed rate. To control the release, it has four huge spillway gates, each weighing 102 tonnes. Water flooding from the Bhakra Dam is controlled and maintained by the Nangal Dam downstream. The project stands tall as a testament to how risks were managed.

Transformation of an Economy
Thanks to the project, Punjab and Haryana produce 24 million tonnes of grains, 1.8 million tonnes of cotton, 3.3 million tonnes of pulses and oilseeds, and 2.5 million tonnes of sugarcane per year. It supplies drinking water to people in five states: Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Delhi. It generates and supplies up to 15 million units of power annually. With Bhakra Nangal, India's Public Works Department took an important step in developing capacity to build big projects involving complex integration management.

Chandrayaan-1: March to the Moon
There are water molecules on the surface of the Moon. This was confirmed by Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO's) first-ever moon orbiter. Chandrayaan-1 was ISRO's first foray beyond the influence of Earth, propelled into space by a 44-meter high indigenous rocket. The spacecraft also captured rare photographs of the far-side of the Moon, which is always hidden from Earth. With this lunar probe project, India joined an elite league comprising the United States, Russia, the European Space Agency, China, and Japan.

The Moon Mission
During its journey to Earth's only natural satellite, Chandrayaan-1 traveled 380,000 km – 30 times the distance between Kolkata and Toronto – carrying payloads or scientific instruments from six countries, including Germany, Bulgaria, and Sweden. The project scope included 3D imaging of the lunar surface and preparation of an atlas of the Moon. In 312 days, the spacecraft made over 3,400 orbits around the Moon and was able to carry out 95% of the planned experiments. Its spectacular success was a demonstration of ISRO's technology and project management abilities to the world.

Strong & Light
For the scientists, it was a humongous challenge to get the spacecraft up there, with both the launch platform (Earth) and the target (Moon) moving in space and spinning around. The endeavor was also a test of ISRO's project integration capabilities, with different components being made in facilities spread across the country. Made of special alloys, the spacecraft's body was strong, yet lightweight. Half of its initial weight was that of the propellants stored in its tanks, used by it to enter the lunar orbit. Its structure enabled its scientific instruments to work without flaw amid hostile surroundings; the thermal subsystem, for instance, had multi-layer insulation and optical solar reflectors to ensure optimum temperature. Different sensors helped track the precise orientation of the spacecraft; meanwhile, on the ground, two gigantic dish antennas detected the extremely weak microwaves transmitted by it.

Journey & Landing
The voyage commenced at 6.22 a.m. India Standard Time (GMT +5) on 22 October 2008. Surmounting all obstacles, 17 days later, the spacecraft had approached its farthest point from Earth. To slow it down, the liquid engine was fired when it passed at a distance of about 500 km from the Moon; this enabled the ‘weak' lunar gravity to capture it into the Moon's orbit. On 14 November, a box-shaped Moon Impact Probe was sent sailing down to the lunar surface. An electronic terrain mapping camera took 3D pictures of objects on the lunar surface on a scale as small as five meters. In May 2009, Chandrayaan-1, along with NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, successfully participated in an experiment to search for water ice on the Moon.

The project's success became an inspiration to a nation that prides itself in scientific self-reliance, and paved the way for the subsequent launch of Mangalyaan or Mars Orbiter Mission. When Mangalyaan reached the red planet's orbit in 2014, at a cost less than what it took to produce Hollywood movie Gravity, the world hailed it as an astounding scientific feat. Thanks to Chandrayaan-1, ISRO is now a major contender for global space exploits.

National Highways Development Project: Highway to Development
In 2001, India embarked upon building a 13,368 km highway network – if laid across the continents, the path would be long enough to take one from Bengaluru to New York. As economic reforms swept India in the nineties, the road grid crucial to commerce started showing severe strains. At 45 km per hour, the average speed of vehicles on Indian highways was half that of the Interstate Highway System in the United States. Between 1951 and 1998, though the roadlength grew from 400,255 km to 3,015,845 km, only 5% of the National Highways had four lanes. This led the central government to initiate the National Highways Development Project (NHDP), with a mandate to develop multi-lane highways crisscrossing the country.

Navigating through Rough Terrain
During the first two phases of the seven-phase program, NHDP oversaw the building of the North South–East West (NS–EW) corridors; the Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) linking Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata; besides 380 km of port connectivity. The project managers encountered a variety of obstacles, ranging from delay in acquisition of land and obtaining environment clearances to shifting of utilities and approval for road flyovers. To overcome these roadblocks, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), the agency entrusted with the project, adopted an innovative approach. It set up a fast-track panel to resolve disputes ranging from land, supplies, and work contracts. Approval was granted at a program level and no project-specific approvals were required. Higher payouts for the land acquired for the project made the procurement process smoother.

A Public-Private Partnership
Contemporary signage and efficient traffic management were part of the scope. Provision was made for divided carriageways and service roads, underpasses and flyovers, bypasses and wayside amenities, along with ambulances and cranes. NHDP used various models, including Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) & Public Private Partnership (PPP); under build-operatetransfer mode, the investor was permitted to collect tolls for a specified period. A majority of contracts were bagged by Indian firms. Incentives were announced for those able to reach milestones as per schedule. To ensure quality, a five-year guarantee was sought from the builder.

How it Measures
NHDP's major components are the GQ network of 5,846 km, and the NS–EW corridors, with an aggregate span of 7,142 km connecting Srinagar in the north to Kanyakumari in the south, and Silchar in the east to Porbandar in the west. The outcome: About 80 billion (1999 prices) annual savings from GQ alone, according to a World Bank study, from reduced fuel costs to faster freight delivery. This project made the Indian road length second in the world, ahead of China and behind the United States. It dramatically improved the quality of roads, decreased pollution, and enhanced safety. It opened the doors for worldclass expressways, changing the way India travels. Along the way, it gave a fillip to the economy of areas in its vicinity, made Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities more attractive for investments, and put socio-economic development on the fast lane.

Operation Flood: A Star on the Milky Way
Over a span of three decades, Operation Flood, the world's biggest dairy development program, helped ransform a milk-deficit nation into the global leader – in 1998, India surpassed the United States, which then produced 71 million tonnes. Along the way, it also radically changed the animal husbandry sector. The White Revolution, as the movement is now called, is pumping in 400 billion per year into the rural economy.

A National Template
After a visit to Anand town of Gujarat in 1964, Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri announced that India would create hundreds of clones of Amul (an acronym for Anand Milk Union Limited). By then, the movement – to eliminate the involvement of middlemen – that began with just two village dairy cooperative societies and 247 liters of milk in 1946 had come to be referred as Amul Dairy. Farmers had embraced the model with gusto. Mr. Shastri saw Amul as the catalyst that would result in rapidly transforming the socioeconomic conditions of the rural areas. The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) was created in 1965; Verghese Kurien, then the general manager of Amul, was handpicked to head this body.

Link to Cities
In 1970, NDDB spearheaded Operation Flood. In Phase-1, it sought to establish 18 ‘Anands' linked to the four urban markets: Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Chennai. Successful implementation of procurement management resulted in connecting milk-deficit locations with milk-surplus regions, and linking 3.23 million producers with consumers in 700 cities and towns across the country. This network, termed the National Milk Grid, became crucial to the success of Operation Flood. The journey was not without obstacles, such as short shelf-life of milk and dairy products. NDDB assisted farmers in procuring nutritious fodder for cattle and helped them with technical knowhow. In 1979, the Institute of Rural Management was set up in Anand to professionalize management of rural producers' organizations and create a body of knowledge in the field of rural management.

The Secret of Success
Operation Flood became a winner because individual farmers were forged into a collective force, hailed globally as a triumph of democratic model and individuals' freewill to act. Farmers were made stakeholders and owned the dairy they worked in, while their elected representatives managed the village societies and district unions. Today, Amul-type dairies produce more than just milk, churning out products like butter, paneer, cheese, milk-bread, curd, sweets, chocolates and ice cream. Operation Flood is counted among the world's largest rural development programs. It not only revolutionized the rural economy of India but provided the global market with a viable, low-cost producer of dairy products.

Source: PMI India's Coffee Table Book, Projects that Define India

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