Engineering solutions needed to fuel growth

M. Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on December 23, 2011 Published on December 23, 2011

Barely a few months ago potato farmers in West Bengal were in distress. They were desperate to give the potatoes free, just to be taken off the farm. In another State, tomato farmers had trouble. A bumper crop and they were not able to reach it to the market easily, leading to loss.

What could have saved them? One easy solution is having decent rural roads that connect national highways and reach agriculture produce to markets, says noted engineer Mr Sudhangshu Sekhar Chakraborty.

Winner of the lifetime achievement in Engineering award along with Dr V.S. Arunachalam, former Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister, of the Indian National Academy of Engineers 2011, Mr Chakraborty says its just not enough to build long, impressive national highways or mega projects, the challenge is to link economic activity and the poor, so that they also become part of the India growth story and not victims.

Today we face a situation of having long highway roads. Just a few kilometres inside are villagers and farmers producing various stuff, but facing the paradox of not being able to reach them to the markets due to poor roads. There is an urgent need to have rural roads in the 450 districts of the country. If India has to absorb the projected one trillion dollars investments in infrastructure, there is a need for a huge number of g good engineers to build it, he told Business Line here.

Mr Chakraborty, a civil and structural engineer with over 50 years experience in the industry and academia is the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Consulting Engineering Services (I) Private Limited. He is here to receive the award.

Though the role of an engineer is substantial in the growth of the country, its ironic that engineers are hardly recognised in India, he laments. Politicians, sportspersons, filmstars, even doctors get highlighted but hardly any engineer, Mr Chakraborty states, partly blaming his tribe for the state of affairs.

There is a huge demand for engineers, especially civil engineers. Yes, a few lakhs of engineers are being churned out in India, especially from states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharastra etc., but the challenge is to `make an engineering graduate employable’. The industry is not willing to take risks and therefore says its finding shortage of good engineers.

The reality is that we are producing a large number of unemployed engineers. Professional engineering bodies, industry and the Government should play a bigger role in changing this situation, he felt. Engineers should not be marginalised, if the country has to progress. There should be incentives in salary, career graph and recognition in society, Mr Chakraborty argues.

A Fellow/Member of several professional institutions including Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) UK, International Association of Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE) Zurich, Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE), his latest recognition being ICE U K “Gold Medal 2007” for Civil Engineering Excellence and Honorary Membership.

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Published on December 23, 2011
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