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Chinese firms eye big potential in India

By Gao Changxin | China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-04 09:16

Although Chinese investors have complained about their sometimes frustrating experiences in India, they hope for a bright future for their investments in one of the fastest-growing markets with huge potential, reports Gao Changxin in New Delhi

Standing next to a giant drilling machine 40 feet underground in downtown New Delhi, Lu Yuanqiang is dripping with perspiration, frustrated that his state-of-the-art machine can't drill one inch further though everything is ready.

Lu is in charge of the Indian business of Chinese constructor Shanghai Urban Construction Group Corp, which won a contract to build part of the tunnel for a new 9.37-km subway in downtown New Delhi.

As the main builder of Shanghai's 439-km subway network, consisting of 12 lines and 288 stations, and also as one of the main contractors for subway tunnels in Singapore, SUCG is "perfectly capable" of handling the work in New Delhi, but the project has been halted for three months over issues other than technology and capability, Lu said.

The problem is a railway line that crosses the tunnel above ground. SUCG needs approval from Indian railway authorities to drill under the railway line because of concern that tunneling might sink the railways.

The company has waited three months and still has no idea if it will get approval to do the work. The railway authorities have withheld approval although the subway line is a government project and the tunneling poses "absolutely no risk" to the railway, Lu said.

Millions will be lost if the construction fails to be finished on time, but there is little that SUCG can do. Why Indian railway authorities refuse to give their approval is a mystery to SUCG.

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