Head in the Clouds, Feet on the Ground: Department of Civil Engineering

Head in the Clouds, Feet on the Ground: Department of Civil Engineering

Deepak Marandi | Aug 20, 2018

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The Civil Engineering Department, which is one of the three oldest departments of NIT Rourkela, has been producing able and competent civil engineers throughout the years. As it welcomes a new batch of students under its wing, team MM takes a look at the new directions and prospects of the department this academic year.
This academic year, the curricula for both UG and PG students have been revised according to the standard procedure. Implementing the last year’s changes, the total number of credits have been reduced to 161 for the students entering their third semester. In addition to this, Minor Degree in Civil Engineering has been introduced this year onwards. Students from other branches can opt for Minor in Civil Engineering at the start of their third semester.
The faculty strength has stayed the same, with 21 out of 38 prescribed positions currently filled. Unfortunately, two faculty members have left the institute. But the total number remains the same as two new faculty members have joined the department this academic year.
The laboratories are in dire need of an equipment upgrade. No new equipment could have been added in the past four years due to lack of funding from the institute. The existing ones require a lot of maintenance and calibration, which is difficult owing to the shortage of funds from the institute. So the maintenance and calibration of equipment are being managed from the operational funds itself, but it is still inadequate for the requirements. Sadly, this year too, there are no budget plans for allocating funds for the procurement of equipment for laboratories.
Another issue which the department faces a problem with is the space constraint. The laboratories are small, packed and are insufficient to accommodate the students during their laboratory classes. The high-end concrete laboratory and the geotechnical laboratory are worst affected by this problem. Even the classrooms and faculty chambers face this problem. So it is an urgent need to expand the department in terms of space. Despite numerous requests and proposals, this problem is yet to be solved. But it is hoped that when the construction of Golden Jubilee and the Mechanical Sciences Building will be completed, the issue of space constraint can be resolved.
On a happier note, one of the alumni of the department, Mr Sanat Kumar Das, from 2009 batch, is being invited to the institute. He currently resides in Dubai. Along with him, two more alumni, his batchmates, who are presently working in NTPC Sundergarh, will visit the Institute on the 24th of August. They will be sharing their experiences and knowledge of the industry with the students here in NIT Rourkela. It has also been planned to provide projects on structural engineering to some interested students in association these alumni to help the students build a good career.
On this note, the HOD of the department, Prof. Mahabir Panda said:

We have a lot of opportunities in Civil Engineering, and it is only the students’ sincerity which will help them explore new avenues. They should be in touch with the faculty members, who are looking forward towards the students to get involved in various projects. Exposure to field projects gives them excellent hands-on experience and helps them build their career. Not only PG students but also UG students should actively be involved and take their project works seriously, as it helps them in the future.

Despite some difficulties, the prestigious department has always kept its head high while keeping its foundation strong. Team MM wishes that the department will continue to do so as it aims higher and higher.

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