Understanding Jhelum

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Last September’s devastating floods left an impression on young Saqib Gulzar’s mind. In less than a year’s time, he came up with an award winning paper on Jhelum. Saima Rashid reports his feat and efforts

Saqib-Gulzar---PulseSeptember 7, 2014 floods left none unscathed. There was no guarantee that another flood of the same intensity won’t hit Kashmir again.

The flood affected houses were soon categorized into partly damaged and fully damaged ones. Latter was like a dormant volcano which can erupt any time. Saqib Gulzar, an Engineering student compiled a book which can be a roadmap to rebuild Kashmir.

In January 2014, his research paper on Jhelum won him the best paper award at an international conference in Nagpur. He is the author of the book titled: Preliminary Guidelines for Repair, Restoration, Retrofitting and Rebuilding of Building Structures in Flood Affected areas of Jammu and Kashmir.

Saqib Gulzar, a final year civil Engineering student at NIT Srinagar likes to call himself jack of all trades and master of none. He is an engineer, innovator, researcher, orator, a leader and an artist.  “I am an unknown warrior who tries to be a little bit of everything,” says Saqib.

Saqib did his schooling from Valley’s prestigious institution, Green Valley Educational Institute. After completing his 12th in Non medical stream, he appeared in AIEEE test and got selected at NIT Srinagar as Civil Engineering student.

“Engineering is my passion, because I found it an application of fundamental sciences where you can address the needs of society directly,” says Saqib. “It is globally acknowledged field with highest local application particularly in developing countries.”

Saqib, a meritorious student throughout his career, topped all the eight semesters of his degree. “I never intended to study for being on the top of the list, but then it is my hardwork which doesn’t let me escape from No 1 position,” says Saqib gleefully.

Saqib says attending conferences, seminars and workshops across India gave him much needed confidence and exposure.

Saqib has already got 10 papers published in various reputed national and international journals. His field of research is: structural engineering, earthquake engineering, sustainable infrastructure development, water resource engineering and transport engineering.

“Floods left a great impact on everybody’s mind. And I was not an exception,” says Saqib. “Being an engineer, I thought of creating something which can make help us become active audiences at the time of disasters.”

The book is based on field survey of the flood affected areas, exhaustive literature survey, currently available research and global documents written on the same issue.

“It is not a novel, which I will document all on my own. But it is something factual and practical which demands you to do a lot of research, collect data etc.,” says Saqib.

The book also contains guidelines intended to help the people of Jammu and Kashmir to build a safer environment against the natural disasters particularly earthquakes and floods.

“After September 2014 floods caused colossal losses to the infrastructure, we at NIT Srinagar thought of coming up with preliminary guidelines followed by comprehensive and exhaustive guidelines pertaining to the repair and restoration of flood damaged structures,” says Saqib.

After continuous deliberations the team decided to incorporate seismic retrofitting guidelines as well owing to the fact that parts of Jammu and Kashmir falls under the High-risk earthquake zone, thereby intending to make flood damaged structures earthquake resistant.

Saqib is a role model for his fellow students. He was elected as President of Institution of Civil Engineers (United Kingdom) for the year 2014-2015. He is nominated in President’s Secretariat to represent NIT this year.

Besides, Saqib has earned student membership in the reputed Engineering societies like American Society of Civil Engineers, Institution of civil Engineers (UK), Institution of Engineers (India).

“All these achievements would have been impossible without the support of my loving mother,” says Saqib.

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