DFI India 2018 a Success
DFI India 2018: 8th Conference on Deep Foundation Technologies for Infrastructure Development in India was held at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Gandhinagar, near Ahmedabad, Gujarat from November 15-17, 2018. IIT Gandhinagar and the Ahmedabad chapter of the Indian Geotechnical Society were collaborators. Prof. Amit Prashant, professor at IIT Gandhinagar, served as the conference chair and Prof. Ajanta Sachan, associate professor at IIT Gandhinagar, and Ravikiran Vaidya, principal at GeoDynamics, served as the organizing secretaries for the conference.
The conference featured three main events:
- A one-day workshop on November 15 on “Ground Improvement Techniques — Column Supported Embankments and Soil Mixing”
- A two-day conference on November 16-17 to highlight four important aspects of quality foundation construction:
- Deep Foundations in Infrastructure Projects — Owners Perspective
- Geotechnical Investigation — Testing, Contractual and Reporting Requirements
- Best Design Practices and New Technology Initiatives
- Ground Improvement, Piling, and Deep Excavation and Support Technologies
- An exhibition to showcase the latest technologies, equipment, testing and monitoring techniques, and special materials.
The two-day conference was opened with an inaugural function on the morning of November 16 with statements from invited dignitaries. Narayan V. Nayak, Ph.D., principal advisor of Gammon India, was presented with the DFI of India 2018 Lifetime Contribution Award. Other highlights of the conference included 8 keynote lectures, 44 technical presentations, a student outreach program, the inauguration of a program for Women in Deep Foundations in India (WiDFI), a panel discussion by senior management officials from various stakeholders, and a cultural program and banquet dinner to close the conference.
The introductory program for Women in Deep Foundations in India was successfully launched by Mary Ellen Large, director of technical activities at DFI; Lucky Nagarajan, geotechnical engineer/business development at Skyline Steel, USA; and Anjana Kadakia, P.E., LEED AP BD+C, senior principal and Mumbai office director at Thornton Tomasetti, USA. Kadakia spoke about her technical and professional journey and her experiences as a woman in the construction industry. Her presentation was aimed at starting a DFI of India conversation on inclusivity and diversity within the construction industry. Nagarajan will take a lead to interact with women throughout the geotechnical profession in India to involve them in DFI of India activities.
The purpose of the student outreach initiative by DFI of India is to generate interest among students in geotechnical engineering. About 50 undergraduate and post-graduate students from various colleges in the region attended the program. Prof. Amit Prashant, Manish Kumar, senior vice president of ITD Cementation, and G.V. Prasad, director of operations at DFI of India, delivered motivational lectures. Three young professionals — Sandeep Patnaik, AECOM; Sridhar, Keller Ground Engineering India; and Sachin Kamat, ITD Cementation — also addressed the students. The lectures and presentations were followed by an open session where students and speakers engaged in a question-and-answer session.
The theme of the panel discussion was “Possible Solutions for Handling Issues in Geotechnical/Foundation Scope of Major Infrastructure/Building Projects.” Each panelist expressed in one voice the urgent need to improve the quality of geotechnical site investigations, to develop skills and to embrace new technologies as the possible solutions to accelerate construction projects with the required quality and safety.
Special thanks are extended to Prof. Sudhir K. Jain, director of IIT Gandhinagar, for use of the infrastructure and facilities at his institute for the conference. Special thanks to Prof. Amit Prashant for his active role from planning through the closing dinner. The commitment, hard work and meticulous planning by I.V. Anirudhan, vice chair of DFI of India are gratefully acknowledged, as are the enthusiastic efforts of the young staff of DFI of India. The conference could not have been successfully organized and executed without the valuable financial support of our sponsors, exhibitors and advertisers, and we very much appreciate their support.
Photos of the event and access to conference proceedings are available at www.dfi.org/india2018.