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Engineer Bhubaneswar Behera – Eminent Personalities of Kalahandi , Odisha

Engineer Bhubaneswar Behera was born on 1st Jan 1916 at Kashibahal, Kalahandi. He got married to Uma Devi. 

At a young age, Prof. (Dr.) Bhubaneswar Behera, the noted engineer and scientist from Odisha and founder-principal of the National Institute of Technology Rourkela, visualized the generation of hydropower and a regular supply of water for irrigation if the waters of Indravati river were diverted to Hati river to create an artificial waterfall from a height of some 2,000 ft. He prepared a project report and presented it to the maharaja who, apparently, liked the scheme very much.

It was during his tenure under the Kalahandi Durbar in 1945-46 that Prof. Behera examined the hilly plateau region of Thuamul (Rampur) and came up with a proposal to construct a hydraulic project in river Indravati for irrigation and power. Thus, the present-day Indravati project can be said to be the brainchild of Prof. Behera.

He had his primary education in Bhawanipatna. He passed matriculation in 1935, He did his B.Sc. from Ravenshaw College, Cuttack, in 1939 with Physics Major and obtained B.Sc. (Engineering) Hons. degree in civil engineering in 1943 from Bihar College of Engineering in Patna. He studied hydraulics and fluid mechanics in Iowa State University, USA, and did his Master thesis on ‘A Length Criterion of Hydraulic Jump’ under Prof. C.J. Posey, and was trained in model studies and dam construction at Denver, Colorado, and project planning under Tennessee Valley Authority.

After working in the works department of Odisha government, the irrigation department of the then princely state of Mysore, where he was involved in the Jog hydropower project, Prof. Begera was given special charge of irrigation in Kalahandi princely state in 1945.

He developed a project to make artificial water fall which had provided good water supply for irrigation and Hydro power generation. He examined the hilly plateau region of Thuamul Rampur and came up with a proposal to construct a hydraulic project in river Indravati for irrigation and power. Thus, the present-day Indravati project can be said to be the brainchild of Prof. Behera.He prepared a preliminary scheme for the same and submitted it to the Maharaja for consideration. The Maharaja was thrilled with his work. 

Engineer Bhubaneswar Behera was selected by the Government of India as a “Post-war reconstruction scholar” to pursue higher education abroad.

In July 1947, Prof. Behera returned to India and joined the then Kalahandi government as irrigation engineer. Following the merger of princely states in 1948, he was sent on deputation to Hirakud Dam Project where he worked till 1956.

He joined as a professor of Civil Engineering department at the University College of Engineering, Burla in the year 1958 and he had been appointed as a Principal of the College in the year 1961. Later, He had been appointed as the first Principal of the Regional Engineering College, Rourkela in from 1962 to 1971. He also worked as a Vice-chancellor of Sambalpur University from 1971 to 1976. 

He was appointed as a member of the Das Committee by the Government of Odisha to recommend the establishment of colleges in the state. Behera also worked as a member of the Orissa State Planning Board and the Union Public Service Commission until 1981. He was sent to many countries like Africa, German as an Advisor of Technical Education by the Government of India.

He had published many research papers in various reputed National and International journals. Apart from Science he also worked on literature. He started a monthly Odia magazine called “Saptarshi”.He has written eight books in Odia. His Odia travelogue “Paschima Africa re Odisha Dhennki” is a textbook in many universities of his native state.

Engineer Bhubaneswar Behera – Eminent Personalities of Kalahandi , Odisha – Art by Saswat Debadutta

His paper titled “Optimum Height of Multipurpose Reservoirs,” co-authored with P.K. Mohapatra, and his paper “Flexible Foundation,” co-authored with A.P. Mishra, earned the Ministry of Irrigation Gold Medal and The Institution of Engineers (India) Gold Medal. He received Odisha Sahitya Academy Award for the essay book “Suna Parikshya”,while his novel “Gaon Ra Daka” won him the prestigious Sarala Award. 

He was honored with the title of “Senior Engineer” of the state on the occasion of the 50th anniversary celebrations of Indian independence in 1998 by The Institution of Engineers (India) Odisha State Center. He was conferred with the title of Sahitya Sudhakar by The Utkal Pathak Sansad, Cuttack. He also had obtained “Sarala Sanman” and “Prajatantra Prachar Samity Essay Award” from the Government of Odisha. He is also the recipient of “Utkal Ratna” in the year 1998. In the honour him, the Library of Sambalpur University campus is named after him under Professor Bhubaneswar Behera Central Library.

Dr. Bhubaneswar Behera was an eminent engineer, a good academician and also an efficient administrator. He played various role and rendered good service as an engineer in the industry. He also performed well and contributed more to the field of Education as an Educationalist.

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By A P Subhakanta Samal

Teacher, Proud Odia. Passionate about History and heritages of Odisha. Founder and Chief editor of Shubhdristi (ଶୁଭଦୃଷ୍ଟି), A bi-monthly Odia e magazine and literature portal.