The Who´s Who in the world of concrete come down to India
In December 2015, engineers, scientists, professors, students, government officials, and industry leaders thronged the Majestic Hall of The Lalit, Mumbai, as the 2nd edition of the R N Raikar Memorial International Conference mesmerised an audience of over 600-plus technocrats from around 30 nations, including host country India.
Some of the countries participating in the event included the USA, Canada and Mexico from the Americas, the UK, Italy, France, Spain, Norway, the Netherlands and Turkey from Europe; UAE, Israel and Oman from the Middle East; Egypt from Africa; India, Bangladesh, Nepal from the Indian subcontinent; and Korea, Singapore, China, Thailand, Australia and Japan from the Far East.
Prof Banthia has actively pursued research in the areas of cement-based and polymer-based fibre-reinforced composites. He has developed a number of novel fibres for concrete and shotcrete reinforcement that are now being used in numerous large projects around the world. Prof Basheer is most known for his seminal research on concrete materials. His patents have been successfully utilised worldwide by two spin-out companies. Both experts were felicitated for their contribution to education, research and technology transfer in the field of concrete and concrete structures. The R N Raikar Memorial International Conference and the Banthia-Basheer International Symposium on Concrete Technology was organised by the India Chapter of American Concrete Institute (ICACI) and sponsored by the parent body, the American Concrete Institute (ACI). It had widespread appeal with top institutions too lending their support such as the Institute of Concrete Technology, London; Asian Concrete Foundation; Instituto Mexicano del Cemento y del Concreto, Mexico; Leeds University UK; Japan Concrete Institute; Korea Concrete Institute; International Union of Laboratories & Experts in Construction Materials, Systems and Structures, France; Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI); Builders Association of India; Indian Concrete Institute; and Institute for Research, Development and Training of Construction Trade and Management, Bangalore.
Conference Chair Dr Surendra Manjrekar noted: "Indian leadership in cement and construction industry is crucial for global sustainable development. Thus the creation of this ´Expressway´ of knowledge transfer assumes great importance. All our international delegates are essentially ´technocrat ambassadors´ of their respective countries, and together we are creating an information pool to be handed over to our respective government bodies and private nation-builders as a ready reckoner to assist in policy making."
ICACI constituted an International Scientific Committee to vet the technical papers for the conference document. In a first, ICACI also set up a separate international editorial board to evaluate technical submissions by various participating countries, including India, for inclusion in the international journals of Construction & Building Materials (UK) and Cement and Concrete Research (USA).
ICACI President Pankaj Shah said: "The biennial R N Raikar Memorial International Conference gets bigger and better with every new edition. If in 2013 we were delighted by the response the conference generated in its debut edition, in this edition we are simply overwhelmed by the unprecedented levels of participation from all sections of the concrete world. There has been a very big representation of the student and young engineering community this time, signalling their robust intent to harness today´s technological advances for tomorrow´s gain."
Since the successful conclusion of the conference, ICACI has been continuously receiving compliments. Talal Mohammed Al Azri from the Sultanate of Oman stated: "The Oman delegation is thankful to ICACI for giving us an opportunity to participate in a conference of such importance and international representation. In conclusion I would like to say that our delegation found this conference to be much better than other international conferences."
Prof Alejandro Durßn-Herrera, Director, Board of Direction, ACI, noted: "I congratulate the entire ICACI team for the successful implementation of the R N Raikar Memorial International Conference and Banthia-Basheer International Symposium on Concrete Technology. The conference had three sessions running in parallel, a testimony to the importance given by both speakers and audiences to this event.
Prof John Bolander from the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of California added: "The second edition of the R N Raikar Memorial International Conference was a grand success and a tremendous experience for me. On a personal note, this was my first visit to India and I thoroughly enjoyed it." Michael Grantham, President of the Institute of Concrete Technology, UK, said, "I offer my heartfelt appreciation to the ICACI team for the seamless arrangements and the wonderful hospitality it showed me and all the international visitors to the conference. I will most certainly be returning to India for another visit and have bookmarked your next conference as a ´must visit´."
ACI was founded in 1904 as a non-profit membership organisation dedicated to public service. It gathers and distributes information on the improvement of design, construction and maintenance of concrete products and structures.
Its India Chapter (ICACI) is in its 37th year. Raikar was one of the founding members of the India Chapter.