05 June 2020

Interaction-Harish Kumar Sharma, Chief Business Officer, REPL

REPL integrates a range of services to deliver end-to-end consultancy in diverse sectors


Rudrabhishek Enterprises Limited (REPL) an ISO 9001:2008 certified organisation is an 25 years old established brand in the domain of Infrastructure and Real Estate Consultancy. REPL is empanelled with more than 30 government bodies and leading institutions in infrastructure and urban planning domains. The group is intensively involved in Smart City Mission of Government of India. REPL has been providing consultancy in conceptualisation, planning and implementation of multiple smart cities viz., Varanasi (U.P.), Indore (M.P.) & Kanpur (U.P). HARISH KUMAR SHARMA, CHIEF BUSINESS OFFICER, RUDRABHISHEK ENTERPRISES LTD (REPL) in an exclusive interview to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES spoke about his company’s expertise and solutions offered in the Smart City space.



Your views on the SMART CITY MISSION. Why does India need smart cities?


Every development, planned in a proper way through various interventions, makes the development efficient, effective and sustainable leading to Smart development. The key challenge is to keep pace with the increasing population burden, futuristic planning and development of new centers for economic activity leading to emergence of new cities.


Every infrastructure planning has a shelf life in terms of accommodating the needs of its resident upto a certain period. After that, the needs change in terms of scale and nature, both. It requires being periodically relooked, reworked and redesigned. So, it is mainly the proper urban planning which gives platform to such needs, in order to make the city smart.


A planning that ensures hassle-free lifestyle, open spaces, security, IT connectivity, 24X7 water supply, 24X7 electricity, intelligent government services, better employment opportunities and similar other features can be termed as Smart City. The initiative is ultimately about uplifting the living condition of citizen in that area by ease of operations, smart governance and sustainable development.


In Indian cities, most of the laid down infrastructure is very old and un integrated. Due to intense development in the dense and core area very little space available for their expansion. At present their carrying capacity is almost half of the demand supply, so it’s up gradation is also a challenge. Major problem lies in operation and maintenance and monitoring of the infrastructure services due to lack of smart facilities.


At macro-level, there is a need of continuous evolution in suitable government policy, certainty in policy environment, fast clearance and close coordination between the government bodies and private players.


At operational level, we need latest technology and advance skills. Most of all, we need citizen’s participation and involvement in the context of urban infrastructure. Ultimately, it is people who will decide what is needed and how the maintenance of new urban amenities are sustained.




Could you brief us on your range of services or solutions offered to the construction/real estate/infrastructure sector. Also detail us specifically on your services or solutions offered in the SMART CITIES space?


REPL felt the need to have a holistic expertise set that would cater to integrated infrastructure development needs of its clients. Subsequently, separate divisions in the areas of Urban Planning, Engineering, Building Designs, PMC, Infrastructure Consulting, GIS were established.


REPL Group is ‘Integrated Real Estate & Infrastructure Consultants’ providing solutions to clients both from the corporate sector and government bodies. Our expertise lies in delivering end-to-end solutions on real estate as well as the infrastructure projects. The group is intensively involved in Smart City Mission of Government of India. We have been providing consultancy in conceptualisation, planning and implementation of multiple smart cities viz., Varanasi (U.P.), Indore (M.P.) & Kanpur (U.P). For the Varanasi, Indore and Kanpur Smart City, REPL is appointed as Project Management Consultants (PMC) for respective SPVs. We are recently appointed as PMC for Dehradun Smart City as well. The consultancy includes the activities such as, feasibility analysis, DPR preparation for various projects, RFP preparation, coordination with various government departments and appointed consultants, project prioritisation and phasing, preparing capital investment plan, implementation roadmap, conducting feasibility study, bid process management for selection of implementing agencies, overall project management etc.




As a company provide the USP’s of your offerings vis-a-vis competition


REPL integrates a range of services to deliver end-to-end consultancy in diverse sectors. This unique selling preposition makes it unprecedented from many in the same field. The diverse consultancy services including viability analysis, urban planning, GIS, structural engineering, building services designs, PMC (Project Management Consultancy), EPC Services (Engineering, Procurement & Construction) and Marketing Advisory gives REPL a unique edge in consultancy offering in today’s infrastructure consultancy fraternity.




Which are the smart cities projects in which you are present, their current status, scope of work and timeline for completion?


As mentioned above, we are currently involved in Project Management Consultancy for three important smart city projects, viz. Varanasi, Kanpur and Indore. These projects are at various stages of implementations. In phase manners, the DPRs are being prepared and tender documents are being floated for separate projects. We are involved in multiple aspects including, feasibility report, preparation of detailed project reports (DPR), RFP on sectors such as water supply & sewerage systems, intelligent traffic management, Command Control Centre, smart security system, heritage conservation etc. Overall, REPL is assisting the authorities in designing, developing, implementing, managing and supervising the smart city projects.




What are the opportunities you are seeking in the smart cities space going forward? Tell us of the smart cities projects in which you are looking to contribute and your strategy to tap them going forward?


Smart City projects are massive in terms of sale and dimensions. These entails intense manpower engagement of sector experts. We are very selectively taking up the similar opportunities in other locations where we can leverage our experience and expertise and more importantly where we can meaningfully contribute in building the smart infrastructure.




Plenty Indian and foreign companies are involved in India’s Smart City Mission projects, could you brief us on the selection process for awarding the contracts to companies.


Consultants are selected through a National Competitive Bidding Process. The method for technical and financial evaluation is QCBS, i.e., Quality and Cost-Based Selection which is a method used for the selection of the consultants.


The method takes into account the quality as well as the cost of the proposal. The ratio usually kept for Technical vs Financial is 80:20, which is in accordance with the World Bank Guidelines for Consultancy Contracts. The technical qualifying criterions are adequate experience in urban infrastructure, urban finance, IT infrastructure, urban mobility and urban planning etc.




Tell us about the critical challenges faced in specific to Smart Cities projects


Overcoming resistance can only give way to new ideas. Although, Smart City implementation projects are facing a lot of local resistance, there are ways to deal such situations. The fundamental challenge in such projects is lack of awareness of real concept of smart cities among citizens as well as implementing agencies. Smart city is not all about making city technically advanced or IT enabled. It is more about making it citizen friendly with provisions of better livelihood. Another challenge is conglomeration and integration of various parallel development activities. Lack of capacity building programs and activities also needs to be taken care of.


Also, the technical capacity of most ULBs is limited. They are unequipped to ensure timely and cost-effective implementation and subsequent operations and maintenance due to limited recruitment over a number of years along with inability to attract the best talent in the competitive market at compensatory rates.


Challenges are then specific to the type of proposals like for ‘retrofitting’ – road widening, expanding infrastructure become common issues. Huge data-gap of existing infrastructure is also a major issue. In case of ‘redevelopment’ – public consent and for ‘greenfield’ – selection of an appropriate area; become major challenges.




Key learning’s from your experience and how they can be applied to the forthcoming smart cities projects?


We have experienced that the community involvement in the entire process is a key element that should be always taken care of. This must start right from the conceptualisation stage, identification of priority areas and also the sustainability dimensions.




Future outlook of Smart Cities and from a company perspective.


The company has gained a lot of exposure in terms of development of Brownfield. REPL has been involved in various brownfield projects like, hi-tech cities, integrated cities.




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