Builder shares experiences of working in war-torn Afghanistan
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Builder shares experiences of working in war-torn Afghanistan

September 30, 2023

22nd Edition of BuildTech 2023 begins with seminar focused on “Futuristic Construction – A Quantum Leap into the Future”

Mysore/Mysuru: Bollineni Seenaiah, past President of Builders’ Association of India (BAI) and Managing Director (MD) of BSCPL Infrastructure Limited (formerly known as B. Seenaiah & Company Projects Limited), Hyderabad, shared the remarkable infrastructural achievements of his company in war-torn Afghanistan. 

His company played a significant role in constructing the road from Kabul to Kandahar, the Afghanistan Parliament building, and the subsequent repair of the Indian Embassy after the US bombing in 2008.

This morning, Seenaiah was the guest of honour and delivered the keynote address at the inaugural of BuildTech 2023 — 22nd Edition, a two-day National Technical Seminar focused on “Futuristic Construction – A Quantum Leap into the Future” relevant to the construction industry. The event is being organised by BAI, Mysore Centre, in collaboration with the Mysore Builders’ Charitable Trust (MBCT) at MBCT Auditorium, Vishweshwaranagar here.

BSCPL’s first project in the Afghanistan region involved building a section of the Kabul-Kandahar-Herat Highway in 2003. It successfully constructed 85 km out of the 360 km stretch. This highway now serves as a vital artery connecting three corners of Afghanistan, likely the first of its kind in the country’s history.

The project took approximately a year to complete and following its completion, Seenaiah’s son, Bollineni Krishnaiah, was honoured at a celebratory dinner at the President’s Palace in Kabul, where he dined with the President and other dignitaries.

Seenaiah shared, “I started my business in 1974 with an investment of Rs. 80 lakh. After 2003, we undertook seven more road construction projects. However, the highlight was securing the contract for the construction of the Parliament building in Kabul, which took us five years but was particularly special.”

Airlifting materials

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Reports indicate that the total value of business generated by the Hyderabad-based firm in Afghanistan reached Rs. 2,300 crore. Another significant achievement for BSCPL was the reconstruction of the Indian Embassy after it was damaged by a bomb blast. Seenaiah explained that they had to airlift materials from India to Afghanistan, which presented considerable challenges. He emphasised that beyond making money, ensuring the safety of their employees and workers was of paramount importance.

Seenaiah recounted the challenges faced, including attacks by the Taliban while travelling and the loss of machinery worth nearly Rs. 40 crore. Initially, no insurance companies were willing to provide coverage, but after discussions with the US contracting agency, they received a written assurance of reimbursement. Despite these challenges, Seenaiah noted that the locals were friendly and amicable, with the Taliban posing the primary security threat.

“Nearly 300 construction workers from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were involved in various projects across Afghanistan. The bonds of friendship between India and Afghanistan grew stronger over time. However, as security deteriorated, business prospects weakened. Working in a climate of fear was unsustainable. Safety must come first, even before business and that’s the unfortunate reality in today’s Afghanistan,” he added.

More than 400 delegates comprising builders, developers, architects, consultants, Government representatives and engineering students are taking part in the event. The seminar features demonstration, product presentation and panel discussion. 

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