Tuesday, 23 October 2018

An appreciation of Prof. TC Rao

I have received the following from Dr. Arabinda Bandyopadhyay, Chief Technologist at CDE Asia Limited, India.  He submitted as a comment to the posting of 17th October, but as the text is too long to publish as such, I post here as a worthy appreciation of Prof. TC Rao:

Dr. T.C. Rao has been the focal point, the fulcrum, around which the profession of Mineral Engineering has evolved in India since 1975. There have been stalwarts before him too but none had made development of the profession and people associated with it the focus of his life.
His accidental arrival in Indian School of Mines (ISM) around the mid 70’s of the last century set in motion a series of developments which catapulted India into the world stage as a nation with tremendous potential in mineral technology particularly in terms of trained man power. Indian mineral engineers are now spread all over the world and are being recognised for the brilliance. They are present in operation of plants from Africa to South America to Australia as also in Research & Development activity in Australia, USA & Canada. They are also in marketing of technology & equipment, in plant design, contract execution and to say in brief all the gamut of activities associated with mineral engineering. Earlier also they were there but were few & far between. And all this is essentially because of Dr. Rao.
From the beginning Dr. Rao has emphasized on people development. He had assembled a team around him at ISM to develop the department initially and then to expand to providing support to industry. It was a pan India team and the basic requirement was attitude and commitment. He did not confine himself to mere pedagogy and went around the country lecturing on mineral engineering & its relevance and giving training to operating people in all areas of mineral industry. Quietly & slowly he could make industry captains realise that this was a separate technology and has little to do with mining engineering. Perhaps the situation in India was also conducive to such ideas as the grades were falling and treatment was necessary to produce saleable ores. Thus he could establish the idea that mineral engineering was adding value to the efforts of mining engineers. His focus was always in the frontier areas of research and application of those in industrial practice. A very favourite slogan of Dr. Rao was the quote from the Chinese Philosopher Lao Tse, “Knowing it, to apply it”.
In the course of such training activity he spotted talents, suppressed in the drudgery of day to day operation of plants, and encouraged them to increase their qualification though special courses designed for operating executives. At his initiative these plant people started writing technical papers on critical plant issues some of which were published in national & international journals of repute and many could attend seminars abroad and present papers. Earlier the papers from industry were generally on plant practices. In fact I am personally one of the beneficiaries of these programs. While working at a copper mine in India I could complete my Master degree and Ph.D. from ISM and was immensely benefitted in later life. I also wrote a number of technical papers which were published in IMPC proceedings and also in Journal of Mineral Engineering. I was sponsored by my copper mining company in India to attend the XIVth IMPC, in Toronto, Canada to present my paper on two stage classification in a copper ore grinding circuit based on the work undertaken under guidance of Dr. Rao. Many other people also took advantage of this new opportunity and prospered
Enthused by these developments and also the appreciation in the country that Mineral engineering was acutely important for the industry Dr. Rao started a full-fledged Bachelor course on the subject in ISM. The ground work of awareness creation having already been done, there was no dearth of students and the industry started recruiting people only thus trained. Earlier the fashion was to recruit from any discipline and orient them to the requirements of a mineral dressing plant. It was only breeding discontent and in absence of understanding & training the plants never performed properly. Things are quite different now. Many of these people have now found placements abroad and are making the country proud. Dr.Rao invited famous teachers & researchers from all over the world to visit ISM and lecture the students and also placed many worthy students in reputed institutions abroad for further research. These interactions benefitted the boys immensely and their vision was enlarged to encompass the situation in other countries as well. Finally he worked hard at the placement of the graduates and for this his standing in the industry was extremely helpful.
He is council member of all most mineral related industry bodies such as Institution of Engineers, Indian Institute of Metals, Indian Institute of Mineral Engineers, Mining, Geological & Metallurgical Institute of India (MGMI), and in all forums he is the protagonist for the mineral engineering profession. He has made best efforts to recognise & award talent as well as streamline the functioning of some these institutes so that the students found adequate attention.
People building have been his motto and possibly he would have done this in whichever profession he was. He has assiduously worked to develop a network amongst the people in the profession and make his students, irrespective of their age, comfortable and successful. He has put all his energies in furthering the interest of mineral engineering through his students.
He is immensely adored all through the country and yet maintains a low profile and leads a very simple life devoid of any glamour.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Dr Barry,
    I Just now went through contents you placed on the Mineral Engineering International Blog about Prof T C Rao. No doubt he is the one-and-the-only Professor and also the Minerals Processor in the entire Indian Mineral Industry, who has been rendering timely services by collating research organizations, academic institutions, equipment manufacturers and processing industries on a common platform. His altruism, advice and worship, commendable mission and tireless services, commenced in 1970’s are still continued and practised endlessly even today. Your statement made on the Blog as ‘Father of Mineral Engineering’ although very much true but we all named him during this MPT-2018 as “Mineral Gandhi” (the Mahatma Ji who fought for the nation).
    Prof T C Rao, is the person who identified the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and placed his thoughts to correct them. Lastly, Dr Barry Kindly accept this, all this could not have been possible without your MEI Blog. I have no words to appreciate your services, which you have been doing silently to the global growth of coal/mineral sectors, hats off to you.

    With regards

    Prof Nikkam Suresh
    Head of the Department
    Department of Fuel & Mineral Engineering
    Indian Institute of Technology (ISM) Dhanbad.


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