India’s construction boom runs out of engineers

Ishara S. Kodikara | AFP | Getty Images Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, center, speaks to supporters at the prime minister's official residence in Colombo on December 16, 2018, after he was reappointed as prime minister by Sri Lanka's president, the same man who fired him from the job nearly two months ago.

NEW DELHI, November 14, 2010 (AFP) – Evidence of India’s construction boom can be seen in the new high-rise apartments sprouting up across the country, but the industry is suffering from a serious shortage of engineers and designers. “Until things change, we might manage some big-ticket items like the Delhi Metro with the help of international partners, but other projects will go over-budget, and the delays and safety lapses will carry on,” he said. Bright, well-educated graduates are choosing careers in banking, management consultancy and computer technology instead of civil engineering, with many universities closing down their degree courses in the subject.

“In my graduating class of 46, all but two of us left for IT (information technology),” recalled Ashwin Mahalingam, alumnus and now a professor in civil engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chennai.

Twelve years after he graduated, Mahalingam said the need for civil engineers has grown hugely, yet the profession still struggled to attract ambitious young Indians.

“There is an impression among students that civil engineers work long hours in the hot sun, the pay is not great, they work in small out-of-the-way towns, and there is some truth