He has built over 700 bridges and roads spanning 15,000 km - testament enough to his rich and extensive experience! And at 58, CV Tunge, Chief Engineer, Amravati Public Works Department, works with the same zeal as when he joined the department back in 1981, including meticulous planning while working on any new project. 'It's all about planning and proper execution,' he believes. Tunge began his career at the young age of 21. Following his schooling from Kopargaon town in Ahmednagar district, he was part of the first batch that gave the the SSC board exams. (Earlier, the matriculation exam was in the 11th standard.) Despite the tough competition, he made it to the College of Engineering, Pune, and then the Government College of Engineering in Aurangabad. Then, the young civil engineer, along with a group of friends who were all fascinated by the construction of buildings and infrastructure, entered the Public Works Department. A few years later, Tunge cracked the state public service exam in 1985 at his first attempt.
'During my first posting, I was at Kinwat, a town in Nanded district,' he recalls. 'I got the opportunity to work on the construction of tar roads from the pilgrim town of Mahur to Matrutirtha.' The work was carried out under the Environment Guarantee Scheme (EGS). His team also played a key role in the design and construction of roads from Dattashikhar to Anusuya Shikhar and Datta Manjri to Dattashikhar. 'These being holy places for locals, roads were a necessity. In the absence of any communication facility, the supervision and execution of the project had to be carried out on foot. We walked around 15-20 km daily!' And during his stint in Parbhani, then the most backward region in Maharashtra, Tunge was tasked with completing stalled road and infrastructure projects. 'The state government had appointed a committee under the chairmanship of Dr VM Dandekar to identify backlogs between different regions of the state,' he shares. 'Under this programme, we identified over 150 villages that had no tar roads. Our multiple teams worked on the planning, design and the execution of tar roads for these villages. It was there that I developed my interest in road planning and design. Those days also trained me in office correspondence, the preparation of paperwork and format for a project, and other administrative work.'
Tunge shares more of his learnings and experiences in an interaction with the CW team:
Leading the development of Amravati: Currently, I have around 32 projects for Amravati city worth Rs 3,000 crore. I am using my entire experience of planning, design and execution as the DPR preparation involves all this; at times, it is challenging. Similarly, after the fall of Savitri Bridge in Konkan, a structural audit of around 60-80 bridges has been done and the required steps in repair and maintenance are being carried out. We are focusing on building quality roads; hence, we are working on concreting the roads in Amravati, Akola, Yeotmal, Washim and nearby areas. This is a challenge as the locals have to face a lot of problems. We have worked on various small bridges in the Melghat region. We have taken up the challenge to complete these works in a span of five to six months.
Daunting tasks: Speaking of major projects, I got the opportunity to work under some of the finest bosses during the construction of approach roads for the heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora. The project was funded by Japan for the MTDC. I also had a keen interest in the planning and design of bridges. The Vita-Sonpet-Manwat Bridge in Parbhani was a project where I worked from the foundation to completion. As an engineer posted in Pandharkawada village of Yeotmal, I was involved in the construction of over 50 bridges in a span of abound two years. There are around 12 arc bridges in the area that involved a lot of planning and design. The main challenge was that we had only five to six months and there was absolutely no access to the area. Water was another issue. Back in 1997, the Vidharbha Road Development Programme was in full swing and we constructed the Nagpur-Naded road and stretches of the 150-km SH 3 and SH 6. Another unique project I worked on was the Kalidas Smarak at Ramtek in 2002 - a tribute to the works of poet Kalidas, it involved preparing murals on the walls. That was something I had never done before.
Changing times: I am thankful to be part of a generation that has transitioned from printed log tables to laptops and hi-tech gadgets. That's the case with technology too. The concrete used in 1978-80 was based on the concept of strength; durability was not at all important.
It was the IS 4.6. Then, in 2000, the whole equation changed as the size, strength and other parameters came into picture. In road construction also, the tar used earlier was AT 100. Today, TAR 60-80 is used.
Building Jalna: In 1988, Jalna was a newly declared district and it was a great experience to work there in its formative years. The projects I worked on include the construction of the collector's office, the government guest house, hospital and other buildings in the hospital premises. The construction of the polytechnic college building was also done in the same period. As an executive engineer, I worked on the also survey and design of roads and bridges.
Serving society: I have always thought of serving the society with my work. To this end, I have contributed in the construction of community temples or 'Samaj Mandir' at Parbhani, Yeotmal, Yeola and Aurangabad. It is ultimately the society that has given me some identity today and this is a small way of giving back.
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