Friday, April 01, 2016

Columns buckle, beams crack, pillars collapse, cranes topple, but netas go on

The recent tragedy resulting from the collapse of a flyover under construction in Kolkata
has made many engineers think more about using technology to save lives.
There are tried and tested technologies for monitoring the health of buildings, bridges, and other structures. Visit
Sensors can easily monitor strain, load, displacement and vibration. They can report this over wires or over wireless signals to monitoring stations. In relation to the cost of the structures involved, they are quite affordable. Higher education is often years ahead of the prevalent practice in the concerned industry. It would be great if electronics departments and structural engineering departments in engineering colleges cooperate to encourage students to carry out projects using sensors to monitor structures. One such project is that designing and implementing an instrument that can be retrofitted to a crane to alert us of risky operating conditions. 
Technology is no use against corruption in departments of state and local governments concerned with approvals and oversight of construction and modifications.  Most building collapses and fires result from failure to inspect and enforce relevant rules. Widespread corruption in concerned departments is the reason why many netas cling to positions giving them control over these departments. One solution to this problem would be for forces fighting corruption to demand resignation of netas who have had control of engineering departments that have visibly failed. It does not matter whether the cause is incompetence or corruption in a given case. The netas have to go either way!

1 comment:

Srinivasan Ramani said...

Here is some discussion of the possible cause of the Vivekananda Road Flyover in Kolkata
Times of India 1-4-2016 Article