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Saluting Our Engineers!

September 2014
Bandra-Worli Sea Link, Pir Panjal Tunnel, Santacruz-Chembur Link Road, Jammu-Udhampur Highway—just some of India’s most iconic landmarks that have left us awestruck. These structures would not have been possible without the creativity and commitment of our engineers. Thus, to celebrate Engineers’ Day on September 15, the birth anniversary of Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, CW pays tribute to the brains behind the brick and concrete who have contributed towards building a better India.

In a bid to highlight the contribution of these unsung heroes, CW initiated a monthly column titled ‘Encounter with Engineers’ in 2011, profiling the works of some of the industry’s most eminent engineers. Read on for a glimpse of all the engineers who have peopled the pages of our magazine in the past year. Happy Engineers’ Day!

R Sundaram, Chairman & Managing Director, Sundaram Architects

"A skilled structural engineer, his passion for shell construction is reflected in the 20 splendid structures he has designed across India. And though the trend in India is dying owing to high costs and huge manpower requirements, Sundaram continues to be one of the few structural engineers to design shell structures. Over the years, his contributions include large concrete hypar shells, large-span RCC and steel folded plate roofs, inverted umbrellas, cylindrical shells, precast, pre-stressed folded plates, and segmental bridges. Despite high labour costs, his skilful use of repetitive formwork and intelligent prefabrication have enabled him to build economical, efficient and elegant shell structures of long span."

Dr Gopal Rai, CEO, R&M International Group of Companies
"If you are proficient in your subject and believe in what you do, you should go ahead irrespective of what others say,” asserts Dr Rai. Focused on a specialised field—retrofitting and rehabilitation of concrete structures by composite materials—he has put several distressed structures and bridges back on their feet and enhanced the load capacity of others. His forte and his company’s core business is external pre-stressing using composite laminates, a new technology he developed while doing his doctorate at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) - Mumbai.

P Surya Prakash, Founder Director, Satya Vani Projects and Consultants Pvt Ltd (SVPCPL)
"Being a civil engineer was my choice and I have enjoyed every bit of this activity,” says Prakash. With over 28 years of experience, he continues to be driven by his agenda—from training skilled labour and initiating an engineers’ bill to advocating reforms in the civil engineering sector. He began his career as a design engineer and moved on to being a consulting civil engineer. For his part, Prakash, who began to use computerised design as early as 1987 and has developed a software for designing buildings himself, has stayed true to his metier."

Prabhakar Nayak, Chief Engineer, Bangalore Development Authority (BDA)
"The prosperity and growth of a nation are measured by its development in various sectors and civil engineers are true nation-builders. “I too wanted to be part of this nation-building team,” states Nayak. In a career spanning three decades, he has been involved in almost every form of nation-building in both rural and urban areas, from flyovers, roads and residential and commercial complexes to rejuvenation of lakes. The 55 year-old considers the ongoing Bangalore Metro and Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) his most challenging projects, the latter being his pet project too."

JL Khushu, Principal Advisor, Era Infra Engineering Ltd
"The projects we engineers develop are in the service of humanity for generations and this gives us a sense of pride and immense satisfaction,” he avers. He has reason to be proud with a career spanning five decades and encompassing a variety of projects in India and abroad. Khushu’s project portfolio extends from residences, offices, hospitals, hotels and universities to industrial structures, highways, bridges, metros and airports. Indeed, his big-picture focus, analytic bend of mind and passion for excellence continue to occupy centre-stage even today."

TS Gururaj, Potential Service Consultants Pvt Ltd
"In this profession, each day is different, each project is unique and each problem requires a customised solution,” shares Gururaj. In a career spanning four decades, his project portfolio extends across several segments, from residential, commercial and industrial to hospitality, healthcare and institutional. In fact, he has also obtained an international patent for bracketed flat slab, is a pioneer in the use of waffle slab structural systems for multi-storeyed commercial structures and podiums, partial precast slabs for low-cost housing projects, concrete with voided slab and waffle slabs for spans ranging from 12 m to 22 m and lightweight siporex slab as roofing for industrial structures."

Basil Manoj, Manager (Civil) with L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Ltd
"It is said that destiny is not a matter of chance, but choice. Well, Manoj really had no choice when it came to his metier! While he originally wished to pursue a diploma in electronics engineering, civil engineering went on to become his calling. Today, he has an experience of 19 years in the construction and supervision of major bridges, flyovers and urban viaducts constructed with innovative design and advanced technology. In his career, Manoj has worked with many innovative technologies. One of his most challenging projects: the Bandra-Worli Sea Link."

Arun Prabhat Mull, Director, Tata Consulting Engineers Ltd (TCE)
In a career spanning four decades, Mull has handled a host of challenging projects, not just in India but in the US, Belgium, Italy, Uzbekistan, Iraq and Iran. His project portfolio—roads, highways, bridges, hotels, hospitals, power plants, pharmaceutical plants, marine works—speaks resoundingly of his passion for perfection, innovation and good engineering practices. Mull began his career with the Central Public Works Department. Later, he joined Tata Consulting Engineers Ltd and held several key positions including that of managing director and CEO from 2004 to 2009. Now, as a director of the board, Mull oversees the performance of the company and provides technical and non-technical guidance.

Gundlapalli Prabhakar, Additional Chief Engineer (Civil), Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL)
Prabhakar has been involved in numerous R&D projects under the Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences—not surprising, as nuclear civil engineering and research are two subjects close to his heart. He has been involved in the structural analysis and seismic design review of several projects of NPCIL like the Kakrapara atomic power project (1 and 2), Kaiga generating stations (1 to 4), Rajasthan atomic power projects (3 to 6) and Tarapur atomic power projects (3 and 4). At present, Prabhakar is responsible for the structural analysis and design of twin 700 MWe projects under construction at Kakrapara (units 3 and 4) near Surat in Gujarat, and Rawatbhata (units 7 and 8), near Kota in Rajasthan.

Industry Speak

SK Goyal, EVP & COO-Buildings and Infrastructure, India
"An engineer in an EPC company is the backbone of the company. It is the engineering prowess that results in the creation of iconic structures, resulting in nation building. An engineer can innovate and improve quality in every aspect of construction and can be compared to the foundation of a structure."

Sanjay Bhatia, Managing Director, CIDCO
"Engineers are the most important people because after the planners it is the engineers who develop all the infrastructure. Today, on account of Engineers Day, I have just felicitated the engineers at CIDCO wherein we give out numerous awards. An engineer can be compared to the foundation of a building as without their role one can’t do much."

Siddharth Bhatia, Head of Marketing, The Wadhwa Group
"The engineer is the heart of the ‘execution’ phase of a construction project. There are few people who fit the shoes of engineers and as a profession that is less observed in the mainstream structure as the role of the engineer tends to be taken for granted. He is analogous to the cement of the building as it is a safety element that provides assurance and brings everything in synergy."