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Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya

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Throughout history, many great persons have made significant contributions the field of civil engineering. I tried to diversify this list of great civil engineers to include people of ancient and well as modern times. Also I have delved deeper into other cultures that have contributed so much to our knowledge base and development so as to include a diverse list. Please note that this list is not extensive, but I hope this gives you a better perspective of lives, accomplishments and impact these people have made in our field.Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya is one such civil engineer.

One of the most influential civil engineers in recent Indian history, Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya was also a scholar and statesman. Every year, 15 September is celebrated as Engineer’s Day in India in his memory. He is held in high regard as a pre-eminent engineer of India and called the “The Father of Indian Civil Engineering”. He was the chief designer and chief engineer of the flood protection system for the city of Hyderabad and the construction of the Krishna Raja Sagara dam in Mandya.[3]

Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya was born in 1860 September 15, 40 miles from Bangalore. Visvesvaraya, who lost his father at the age of 15. He enrolled for Kannada medium primary school in Chikballapur and attended high school in Bangalore and later studied civil engineering at the prestigious College of Engineering, Pune .[3]

After graduating as an engineer, Visvesvaraya was employed at the Public Works Department (PWD) of Mumbai. Later, while working for the Indian Irrigation Commission, he implemented an extremely intricate system of irrigation. To raise the flood supply level of storage in the reservoir of the Deccan area to the highest level likely to be attained by a flood without causing any damage to the dam, he designed and patented a system of automatic weir water floodgates that were first installed in 1903 at the Khadakvasla Reservoir. The system of floodgates were so successful that the same type of system was installed at the Tigra Dam in Gwalior and the Krishna Raja Sagara (KRS) Dam. [3] He supervised the construction of the KRS Dam from the conceptual stages to inauguration. This dam created the biggest reservoir in Asia at the time it was built. In 1906–07, the Government of India sent him to Aden to study water supply and drainage system and the project prepared by him was implemented in Aden successfully. Visvesvaraya later designed a new flood protection system for the city of Hyderabad. He was instrumental in developing a system to protect Visakhapatnam port from sea erosion and charting out the plan for road construction between Tirumala and Tirupati. He was known for his sincerity, time management and dedication.

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After 1908, he took a foreign tour to study industrialized nations and after, for a short period he worked for the Nizam of Hyderabad, India. He was instrumental in the founding of the Government Engineering College at Bangalore in 1917, one of the first engineering institutes in India.[3] This institution was later named the University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering. He also commissioned several new railway lines in Mysore state.

Visvesvaraya civil engineering contributions have had a significant impact in the India and around the world. Deservedly, he has received recognition the educational and the engineering sector. College of Engineering, Pune, where he studied his engineering degree has erected a statue in his honour.

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References
[3]R.Mudde.“The Excellent Statesman-Sir M Visvesvaraya” .Internet: http://www.karnataka.com/personalities/visvesvaraya/ . October 1, 2007 [December 22, 2013]

Taken from book- “An Introduction to Civil Engineering”, By Valdengrave Okumu

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Comments
  • RJ Bhattacharjee January 9, 2017 at 5:20 am

    M. Visvesvaraya was, no doubt, a genius and a great Civil Engineer. But, only one engineer in India has received ‘Bharat Ratna’ so far, it is a sad story. Govt of India should pay attention to this so that other contributing engineers, especially Civil engineers also come to this level.

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