Hemant Kumar ’73
Jamalpur is alive and kicking, and I bring an update of what has been happening since the last newsletter.
I had already informed that Amit Saurastri joined the band on sixth of January this year, as the last (I hope so) person of 1996 batch. He adapted well - much better than some of his illustrious predecessors who came... who saw... and who cringed away to oblivion.
IRIMEE Annual Day this year was a mega event, what with two sitting Members of the Railway Board and one former Member present. A seminar was organised on “New technologies in the Mechanical Department of Indian Railways”, with a keynote address by the Member Staff. Jamalpur Workshop also readied the first 140-T Gottwald Crane for load trials on the same day (Feb. 13, 1999) to be released by the MM. I believe JMP shops had built several cranes earlier, but all of them had full component-kits coming from Gottwald only. This perhaps was the first one for which the purchasing was done by Indian Railways from global / indigenous vendors (hence the delay). I am not sure if all the components have been received yet. MM also inaugurated the C&W model room, and MS inaugurated Diesel (GM) model room at IRIMEE.
MK Sinha ’88 followed the examples of his juniors (Akhilesh Misra ’91, Yatish Kumar ’93, Suveer Kumar Sinha and Anjali Sinha nee Varshney - both of ’93 batch). He decided to chuck bachelorhood for the bliss (?) of married life. His two seniors at IRIMEE, PM ’80 and PS ’84, however, refused to get enticed, and are determined to avoid the Venus (flytrap?). Somebody should tell them that it is “better late than never” and that “it is never too late”.
Director got a message that an Inter-CTI Cultural and Sports meet is being organised for the first time at Railway Staff College, open to the faculty and the probationers attached, and no, they were not allowing the SCAs to participate. Time was short, but a team consisting of two faculty members and five probationers (all SAMs) went there. They came back with both the trophies - Sports and Cultural. Some of the events were entered in spontaneously, with barely five minutes of preparation. But isn’t that what gymmies have always been trained to be prepared to do?
Heat came in early this year, and what a summer it was. April was as hot as the hottest May, and in May rains came by the 4th week. Annual floods came in the last week of June. It appears that there is a bug in the Almighty’s computer programme governing the seasons (or has it been affected by a virus?). Anybody in the fraternity may send a patch for the bug, or the cure for the virus to Him at His e-mail address email@example.com with a copy to pearlygates (or is it billgates?)
MR made history when he visited Jamalpur for a second time. Earlier incumbents could never make it twice to the place, as they laid office shortly after the first visit. For the current MR, the jinx applied albeit late - the government was voted out shortly after his second visit on 30th April. The MR inaugurated the crane, that was earlier released for load trials, on that day, and he also inaugurated the survey work on the Munger Ganga road-cum-rail bridge. Know what? The road from Patna to Munger and beyond across the Ganga has been declared a national highway - it wasn’t even a state highway earlier. Hopefully, the road journeys between Kiul and Jamalpur would become bearable in not too distant future.
IRIMEE has suddenly come on the international map. No, it has not opened a branch in California, or London for that matter. It hasn’t tied up with Harvard, Oxford, or Cambridge either. Things have suddenly started looking up for IRIMEE as regards foreign training. The first one to go was Lecturer Diesel, for 6 weeks, followed by another Lecturer Diesel for another 6 weeks. Then came the short duration (2 weeks) lollies for PM ’80 and yours truly. PM ’80 could not make it due to a last moment glitch (he fell ill), but I could. I would share some of the experiences in some other article, but what it indicates is that finally IRIMEE is being noticed and the need to train the trainers is being realised in the corridors of power.
It has finally happened! The collaborative arrangement between IRIMEE and Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi has been approved by the Railway Board in principle. The Director, IRIMEE, and the Vice-chancellor of the BIT signed the MOU on The 21st of August, in presence of the AMM, and other members of the Advisory Committee of IRIMEE, at a glittering ceremony. With this arrangement, SCAs would register themselves as regular students of BIT, but study at IRIMEE. They would appear for end-semester examinations in Ranchi (at BIT, not at the other institute Ranchi is famous for). Hear what? MR was expected to come to Jamalpur a third time - this time on the occasion of signing the MOU between IRIMEE and BIT, but Gaisal happened first, and he resigned.
1998 batch is the first one to go through this scheme. They would be free from EC / AMIE, and no exams at IRIMEE other than those under the BIT scheme. Lucky chaps, aren’t they? With ’94 batch starting their probationary training, ’96 batch was the only one remaining in Gymkhana. To say the arrival of ’98 batch was eagerly awaited, would be the understatement of the millennium. Eight bright boys joined the fraternity to constitute the ’98 batch. They also had their tales of woes initially (don’t snigger) but appear to be well settled now. Incidentally, the SCRA examinations for the 1999 batch have been held on the 22nd of August. We would like them to join as early as possible so that the dwindling strength increases.
M K Poddar ’84 left for CLW, reducing the strength of ’84 batch at Jamalpur by a third, and I am sorry I could not fulfil my promise of visiting Poddars at their residence. Maybe we’ll do it at CLW during some visit. He should be quite relieved to work in a PU after the straightjacket working of Eastern Railway (Do I hear any dissenting voice?). R. N. Toppo '81 has occupied his seat and has got promoted in the process. Any takers for the post fallen vacant? Last seen, Amit Gupta ’86 was making rounds of Jamalpur, ostensibly for a project. After all, he is due back from his stint at MDI, Gurgaon shortly. I wonder. (News has come in that Amit Gupta has been transferred to Central Railway)
Well, that would be all for the present. Will meet again in the next issue.