Dr. Ajudhiya Nath Khosla 1892-1984.


      Not many people are aware that in the field of water resources engineering, many landmark developments took place in India. Several engineers, some British and some Indians, contributed to this process. Amongst these, perhaps the most outstanding contribution is that of Dr. A N Khosla, famous for his theory of design of weirs on permeable foundations.
      Dr. Ajudhiya Nath Khosla was born in 1892 in Jalandhar, Punjab. After completion of graduation in engineering from the Thomason College of Civil Engineering (now known as IIT-Roorkee) in 1916, he started his career with the Irrigation Branch of the Punjab Public Works Department. He was appointed to Indian Service of Engineers (ISE) with its introduction in 1919.
      The first assignment of Dr. Khosla was survey and investigation work of Bhakra Dam. Later he was involved with various other water resources projects, like the Suleimanke Barrage, Panjnad Head Works of Sutlej Valley Canals, Trimmu Barrage etc. He worked in Mesopotamia as a commissioned officer with the Indian Expeditionary Force. He was also deputed to the United States and to Europe to study soil reclamation, water logging and dam design.
      Dr. Khosla is well known for his two valuable contributions to water resources engineering, namely, the “Khosla Disc” for precision leveling across rivers and wide valleys; and the state of art publication, “The design of weirs on permeable foundations”, presenting the theoretical aspects of seepage flow. Later, he applied his design for the construction of the Trimmu Barrage, which was constructed in a record period of two years.
      Owing to his exceptional merit, he was appointed to many prestigious posts during his career. Notable among these are Superintending Engineer and Chief Engineer of the Bhakra project; Chairman of the newly constituted Central Waterways, Irrigation and Navigation Commission (now known as Central Water Commission); Vice-Chairman of Bhakra Control Board; and later as Chairman of the Board of its Consultants. Under his chairmanship, the Central Waterways, Irrigation and Navigation Commission undertook the construction of Hirakud dam on Mahanadi, which is the longest earth dam in the world.
      Dr. Khosla served the nation not only as professional engineer, but in several other fields also. He was appointed as Vice Chancellor of the Thomason College of Civil Engineering, where he transformed the Institution from a small, though reputed college, to a leading technical university. He founded of two specialized engineering departments, namely, the Water Resources Development Training Centre; and the School of Research and Training in Earthquake Engineering, which earned international acclaim for the institution. He was awarded the honorary D.Sc. degree by the University.
      Later, he became a member of the Planning Commission in 1959 and peaked his career as the Governor of Orissa. He was the first engineer to be appointed to such an high office.
      As an acknowledgment of his valuable contribution to the nation building, the Government of India conferred on him the second highest national civilian honour “Padma Vibhushan” in 1977. Dr. Khosal passed away at the age of 92, remaining dynamic and active almost to the end.
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