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UK-based Indian engineer campaigns for tweaking of engineering course

The Bandra cable-stay section of the Bandra Worli Sea Link spans 600m in length and towers to a height of 126m (as high as a 43-story building). The cable stay system comprises of 2250km high strength galvanised steel wires which support the cable stay bridge weighing 20,000 tons.
The Bandra cable-stay section of the Bandra Worli Sea Link spans 600m in length and towers to a height of 126m (as high as a 43-story building). The cable stay system comprises of 2250km high strength galvanised steel wires which support the cable stay bridge weighing 20,000 tons.

A United Kingdom-based Indian engineer is campaigning around the world for introduction of a comprehensive project engineering subject in technical institutes to ward off possibilities of disasters due to communication- and knowledge-deficit among engineers working on multi-faceted projects.

The crusader, Subhendu Moulik, currently on a tour of India to push his concept, says a rapport of engineers of various disciplines on the same project, is bound to reduce both the eleventh-hour technical problems as well as long-term glitches.

A thorough and practical knowledge of all disciplines of the project by engineers working there alone could avert global disasters like sudden collapse of well-built bridges, sinking of ships like Titanic, mid-air crashes, burning trains and so on, he said.

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Carrying a laptop loaded with his almost 20-minutes film starting with the historic sinking of the ill-fated Titanic, Moulik is trying to persuade India's lawmakers to introduce this course in technical institutes as part of the engineering curriculum.

According to Moulik, EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) industry expects, in addition to the conventional engineering design studies, students to know multi-disciplinary concepts. They need to have an awareness of cost optimisation, quality engineering, construction, safety and operability engineering.

Bangkok's AIT (Asian Institute of Technology) has agreed that it will consider incorporating a module on project engineering in courses at AIT, especially at the undergraduate level.

Moulik, who has agreed to work with AIT, told UNI that AIT and he would soon jointly work together on developing a one-week course in a step towards introduction of project engineering as a subject there.

The Thailand meeting was held recently with Dr Jonathan Shaw, Director-AIT extension and Dr Dreg Chiu, professor of practice, school of engineering and technology, Moulik said while unfolding his plans to undertake similar meetings with institutes the world over.

The bridge foundation comprises of large dia piles arising from 15m below the sea level.
The bridge foundation comprises of large dia piles arising from 15m below the sea level.

He explains that he had launched the campaign for the full-fledged course after being an eyewitness to a plethora of technical slippages, many times very serious and with potential of taking heavy toll of human lives.

Moulik, a mechanical engineer, says many times, experts in their own streams did not have a coordinated approach with engineers of other disciplines on the same project.

He based his claim on his experience as an engineer during his tenure on various projects, mainly in the oil and gas sector.

Project engineering is a practical engineering programme to be taught after theoretical engineering studies.

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Moulik laments that today, the term project engineer is used in a very wide spectrum manner in the EPC industry. Starting from an assistant to the project manager, engineering manager or construction manager - all these terms are also considered a project engineer. An engineer is designated as the project engineer at any point of time during the project.

According to him, multi-discipline project engineering is a special skill where an engineer has basic knowledge of all disciplines' deliverables.

The proposed full-fledged course, Moulik says, will produce skilled project engineers who understand all discipline deliverables, dependency between disciplines, importance of deliverables, idea of time, quality, cost involved, international project standards besides having the knowledge of basic risk analysis, scheduling construction and commissioning.

He claims that, presently, students come out of university with a very sketchy knowledge of other engineering disciplines - taught in the first year of engineering - which neither add much value to the students' career nor much help to do any work in a real professional life in the multi-discipline world environment.

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