Special Report

A Salute to Excellence

October 2011
What lies beneath is usually ignored – this is as true for construction as it is for life. While architects, buil-ders and developers receive their share of plaudits, the role of the civil engineer, who lies at the core of any project, often goes unrecognised. Indeed, civil engineers are the unsung heroes of the industry, working in the background, applying technology and experience to create a workable structure. It’s now time for these heroes to step into the spotlight.

Celebrated every year as Engineer’s Day in India, September 15 is the birth anni-versary of  Bharat Ratna Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya. This year, the Indian Institute of Engineers India-Maharashtra State Centre organised a small event in Mumbai to pay tribute to this engineer-scholar and address the role of engineers in the country’s development. Chief Guest SS Shinde, Joint Municipal Commissioner, BMC, delivered the keynote address on the theme of the evening: ‘Engineering preparedness for disaster mitigation’.

This column, profiling civil and structural engineers which was started the same time last year in CW, completed a year. Here’s a snapshot of the engineers who have made landmark structures across the country and our pages  come alive!

Cyrus Pithawalla, Director, Hiranandani Constructions Pvt Ltd
For someone who entered civil engineering purely by chance, Pithawalla has a remarkable portfolio of projects. These include the world’s largest water filtration plant at Bhandup, Mumbai; one of Asia’s longest residential buildings, Lake Castle, Powai; and Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital in Powai. He considers renowned civil engineer Anthony Remedios his guru and his credo:
“A passionate attitude and persistence definitely bring success.”

Shriniwas Nandargikar, Chief Engineer, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority
“The ultimate joy we derive after successfully completing a project outweighs its pressures.” Not an overstatement considering the diverse range of projects executed by Nandargikar, including the second Thane Creek Bridge at Vashi, the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, flyovers in Mumbai, Jaisingpur Bypass and Western and Eastern Express Highways. Having aspired to be a civil engineer right from his schooldays, today, at 58, he has no plans to hang up his boots and yearns to work on more interesting projects.

Dhananjay Dhawad, Secretary (Roads), Public Works Department, Government of Maharashtra
Walking 5 km from his village to the main market every day during his childhood carved the path for Dhawad. Engaged in the construction of several major bridges, strengthening of roads and highways and developer of many prestigious projects like the Wardha, Kaundinyapur and Karatkheda bridges; Amravati City Integrated Road Development; and Government College of Pharmacy, Amravati; Dhawad has also authored a handbook on training assistant engineers.

DR Hadadare, General Manager (Engineering), SPPL and Chief Engineer/State Nodal Officer MHADA
His own penchant for working for the needy has made it all worthwhile for him. Hadadare has been involved in building homes for economically weaker sections, lower income groups, higher income groups, slum rehabilitation, bidi workers, as well as repairs and reconstruction of old buildings and chawls for the past three decades.

Kamal Lalla, City Engineer, Thane Municipal Corporation
“Hundreds of ideas keep popping up in my mind,” he says. The man behind the transformation of the civic face of Thane City, Lalla is known for having successfully implemented the Station Area Traffic Improvement Scheme and a 110-mld water supply scheme from Pise Head Works. This ‘Outstanding Engineer Award’ winner from TMC in 2009 now plans to execute the Thane creek development and Ring Rail projects.

Prabhakar Deshmukh, Chief Manager-Port Planning & Development, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), Navi Mumbai
The construction of a dam at Shirpur, in Maharashtra, was the building block for his career. Deshmukh, in a span of three decades has handled many notable projects from roads, bridges, underpasses and airstrips to forensic labs, educational institutions, hospitals and residential buildings. The winner of the ‘Excellent Engineer Award’from the Government of Maharashtra (2005), he believes one can be principled and upright even in the public sector.

Col Rajbir Malik (retd), Chief Corporate Officer, Ackruti City Ltd, Mumbai
Having built projects in all terrains, ranging from snow-filled Himalayan stretches and rivers to the forward areas of Jammu & Kashmir, Malik rightly believes that nothing is impossible. Redefining civil engineering as an intellectually creative profession, he now looks forward to building homes that will last for a 100 years.

Kishore Tidke, Chief Operating Officer-Construction Management, Lodha Group
Creating landmarks gives him immense satisfaction and Tidke has till date supervised over 44 projects simultaneously in Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad. Now involved in the construction of his dream project, World One at Lower Parel, Mumbai, he believes in moving out of his comfort zone.

Kamal Gupta, Executive Director, J Kumar Infraprojects Ltd
“Dream, achieve and move on to the next dream,” believes Gupta. Maybe that’s why even after building landmark projects like the Times of India Flyover, Goregaon Sports Complex, Hadapsar Flyover and Thakur Complex Flyover, he is still as passionate about building the Parel-Mahalaxmi Mono Rail project in Mumbai as his first.

Imran Merchant, Senior Partner, Painterior (India)
“Repair is pure workmanship using appropriate methods and materials,” believes Merchant, a leading civil repair, rehabilitation and painting contractor in Mumbai. Having handled over 2,500 projects, ranging from residential and commercial to educational and heritage buildings, he has also set high standards by introducing several innovations in guniting, joint fillings, fixing aluminium windows and ferro-cement chajjas.

SB Malekar, Vice President-Technical, Sterling Engineering Consultancy Services Pvt Ltd
“Indian engineers today are on par with their global counterparts,” affirms Malekar. Involved in the construction of the SIDOR Steel Plant in Venezuela, this graduate in civil engineering from Mumbai University now desires to impart his knowledge, skills and experience gained over the years to groom young engineers.

Shyamkant Dharmadhikari, Executive Vice-President and Chief Technical Officer, HCC Group
An acclaimed technocrat, Dharmadhikari has been involved in the development of over 45 diverse projects in a career spanning over 35 years with the HCC Group. He now nurtures the desire to build a huge dam like Koyna in Maharashtra or Idukki in Kerala.