Sekhar Chandra Dutta, Professor, School of Infrastructure at Indian Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, and a veteran in civil engineering says, “My first experience as a consultant is for RITES Ltd, for checking skewed box culvert which had a unique design aspect of involving skewed slab.” This has started to be widely used for establishing railway lines over busy roads with minimum effect on vehicle movement on the roads, he adds.
Sharing another experience, that of proof-checking and designing very high-mast lighting at Dhanchand and Wankhade stadiums, Prof. Dutta said the challenge was to design such structures against heavy wind gust, which had heavy light carrying arms that were projected from top. So, there was a possibility of heavy deflection and failure. “In case of Dhanchand Stadium such lighting mast was coming close to Rashtrapati Bhavan which required taking special care involving speciality of folding them when game is not going on,” he explained.
Two of Prof. Dutta’s assigments were visiting and analysing a distressed steel bridge in Odisha and a distressed concrete bridge in Bihar, and suggesting remedial measures. According to him, both these works were extremely challenging. He also felt that the checking of the design of 131m Gulbarga TV tower was an equally challenging task.
When asked about his views on India’s infrastructure projects, he noted, “India has extremely good manpower in terms of engineering skills and there are good quality Indian Standards. However, the major problem is that we do not rely on our own engineers. We get mentally satisfied if the design is done by a foreign company.”
According to Prof. Dutta, the actual problem lies in implementation of proper design following codes, obviously leading to poor quality control. For this, he feels that training and adequate mindset should be introduced at ground-level workers and a massive programme should be thought of for achieving this end.
“At the end, I would like to say adequate design, proper quality control, and continuous maintenance should be the key factors we should stress upon for any infrastructural facilities ranging from highway to TV towers,” he concludes.
Prof. Dutta has completed his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering (Structural Engineering) from IIT-Kanpur in 1996, and M.E. and B.E. in Civil Engineering from University of Calcutta, Kolkata, in 1990 and 1988, respectively.
Earlier, he was Dean, Alumni Affairs, International Relation and Continuing Education, at IIT-Bhubaneswar, from July 2011 to April 2014. He was also the Founder Head, School of Infrastructure, IIT-Bhubaneswar, since July 2009-March 2010, and January 2012 till date. He was elected as Fellow of West Bengal Academy of Science and Technology from Engineering Section and acted as a visiting faculty member in Mechanics for Summer Term during the summer of 2012 at University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, USA.
He has been a visiting Fulbright Nehru Senior Research Fellow, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Davis. He has also visited University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, USA, University of Tokyo, Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan, National University of Singapore, Universiti Technologi Mara, Malayasia, Greece, and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology for different assignments.
Prof. Dutta received the ‘Dr. Jai Krishna Prize’ at the 26th Indian Engineering Congress in 2011 for publication of ‘Pushover Analysis of MDOF Systems: Explanation, Demonstration and Performance Study,’ authored by him and S. Das. He has also received Young Faculty Research Award 2006 from B.E. College Alumni Association, Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area, USA.