Thursday, March 15, 2018

How we managed to miss a flight to get an overlay at Geneva.

My self and Mr MR Kedia were posted to SMS- Germany for 3 months for on-job training in 1983. Few interesting events took place and few are worth revisiting. One of them is described here. We were travelling club class in the upper deck of Air India's Boeing 747 popularly also called Jumbo jet. We were overwhelmed by the hospitality of Air India. Since for 26 seats in 7 rows, we had in attendance 8 stewards and hostesses. They would every now and then offer drinks or minor eats. Itinerary  was Delhi-Rome-Geneva with connecting Swiss Air flight Geneva-Dusseldorf. The plane made an unscheduled stoppage at Athens, we were not permitted to go to the terminal building but came down for few minutes and went back due to chilly weather. The reasons for the additional stoppage was strike by Custom personnel at Rome.

Kedia and me

L-R, Me, Mr GC Pd, Late Sri PL Modi, Mr MR Kedia

In Rome Air India was unable to load food hence the captain announced that passengers may drink as much they want. While I had already taken few drinks I availed this opportunity for gulping down 2-3 champagnes. When the plane reached Geneva we were slightly delayed and a lady from Air India was there to hurry us up. I was little drowsy but Kedia was sober and he thought of a plan and asked me not to hurry so that we miss the connecting flight and get an over lay in Geneva. We had seen the travelator for the first time and any way it was making us move slow as we did not walk over it.  Our plan worked and finally we missed our flight. Our only worry was how to inform our colleagues at Dusseldorf of the changed plan since they were supposed to pick us up there. Swiss Air agreed to help and they sent a fax to SMS office. We were taken to a 5 star Hotel Penta for an overnight stay with all food coupons. That night we could hardly sleep as it snowed and we were excited to go out and enjoy. We enjoyed the Swiss food specially the cheese. 

Next day we moved around and saw important places such as Geneva lake and UN establishments ILO & WHO. We could afford to buy some curio items. Thus we could visit Switzerland  for the first time. At Dusseldorf my little German knowledge worked as The taxi driver was not able to under stand our address ie 26, Oberbilker Allee, and I used the German for 26 ie sechsundzwanzig and the driver took us to our apartment.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

My official visits abroad Part-2..USA, Canada, Germany -1993

I was a part of joint team of MECON and Shree Precoated Ltd, Pune to a visit to USA and Canada in March 1993 for evaluation of old mill equipment and to locate vendors for refurbishing as well as for new supplies. I also was required to visit independently Berlin for evaluation of Elpro AG  an erstwhile East German company for tie up or joint venture. We left Bombay with visa stampings for UK, USA, Canada and Germany.

We reached Mumbai then called Bombay on Sunday 14th March just 2 days after infamous bomb blast and while travelling on Monday 15th of March from Hotel Citizen near Juhu Beach  to Mecon Office in World Trade Centre in Cuffe Parade, Mumbai  we passed Mahim and Air India building and the devastation was quite visible.. remarkably Bombay was up on its feet and moving! We met officials of M/s Shree precoated Ltd at their Fort office and finally after completion  of formalities  got foreign exchange on Sat 19-3-1993 a bank half day working (curtsey good liasoning of local MECON officials with banks) and then left for USA on 20-3-1993. 

Story in pictures below. The pictures are scanned from film camera pictures are are not original digital photos. Excuse me for the quality of pictures. 

In Pittsburgh with NELCO and AEG personnel regarding repair of large motors.
Downtown Pittsburgh and Ohio bridge.
United Office, Pittsburgh (Now Danielli United) 
K-mart near our  Hotel our usual evening past time. Mr K Bhattacharya of M/s Shree Precoated Ltd is extreme left.
With Mr Sharma of Sherman International in the lobby of our Pittsburgh Hotel. He moved us around Pittsburgh and we visited a grand Hindu Temple with him. Another visit was from Mr Swain (Ex Meconinan) & family. They visited us driving over 600 km to Meet our Mr PC Sahu - wanted us to convince his younger son born is US for agreeing to return to India.

From USA we visited Kelk, Toronto Canada for 2 days.
In side 553 m iconic CN tower at Toronto. The swinging of tower due to wind was scaring. The tower was highest man made structure that time. 
Lunch in Kelk office. Mr John Michell is on extreme left. 

From Toronto we returned to Pittsburgh and while the team returned to Mumbai / Bombay, I travelled to Berlin via London and Frankfurt. I had valid UK Visa could to go out of Heathrow due to time constraints. 

While taking the British Airways flight to Frankfurt, the airline staff insisted on having my hand baggage as registered bag and hence I reached Frankfurt without any thing in my hand. To kill time I moved from one terminal to another at FF few times and this caught the attention of a security officer who took me to Lufthansa counter to ascertain my identity. 

Another interesting event happened when I arrived Berlin. Some one from Elpro Ag was to receive me and take me to hotel booked for me. As per Fax I was to arrive their 10 O'clock - evening. Elpro took this as 10 AM and had had waited and gone in the morning. When several announcements made over voice com did not yield any result I used the Hotel Booking electronic board to book a Hotel my self and went using a taxi. 

My hotel in West Berlin. This was located in side a neighbourhood meant for retired people. How ever I was brushed aside when I wanted to help an elderly lady with her grocery. 
At Elpro  testing facility (East Berlin)

Berlin wall west site.

368 m tall Berlin tower (Fernsehturm)-  located in the East side.

Two weeks ended with my travel back via Frankfurt. There was some issue of Extra baggage since allowance to-from US was 65 kg & from Europe it was 20 kg. However German speaking Elpro people helped me. As a last hitch had to  pay custom duty for a  VCP purchased in Germany.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Evolution of Automatic Gauge Control philosophy for flat rolling

During the course of my working in MECON - world of automatic gauge control changed from Mechanical Screw Down Control to Hydraulic AGC. I had written a paper "Evolution of AGC Control Philosophy" and now have uploaded to my web page "" a link to the same is given below. This may not interest all, but hope will be of interest to my colleagues and friends in Indian Rolling Mill industry. 

Evolution of Automatic Gauge Control philosophy for flat rolling, By Amitabh Sinha

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Some photographs of my work places

I am a very irregular blogger..sorry for that. Now I realize how much efforts Journos put in  to keep us busy whole day or else we get same story time and again the whole day !

In this post I like to enclose some photographs of my work places only.. Bhilai, Chandigarh, Sriharokota, Milan, Kulalumpur, Sun City (RSA), Lille, Niagara, Rhine Cruise, Paris, Paris-Swiss train, St Etienne, Bokaro-HSM

Saturday, November 8, 2014

My official visits abroad Part-1..Germany -1983

Sorry for late delivery of my blog - after almost 3 years. Got busy with our project at Bhilai.
During MECON days going abroad was a privilege every one looked forward to. Being part of Rolling Mill supply group it was assumed one will go to US due to our collaboration with Pittsburgh based Wean United - now Danieli United. Many of our seniors had been to US from 6 months to 2 years and we looked towards them with awe. Apart from official visits we (with my wife) went to visit US (East &West coast) twice- 2007 &2010 and took a Europe tour to 5 countries (Germany, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Swiss) -2013.
I had my share of official foreign visits as well. Rather I had 2 long postings 3 months to SMS, Dusseldorf -Germany and 6 months to ISCOR, Pretoria - South Africa. I got several opportunities to visit France & Swiss from MACO - my company after retirement as well.  I will not take your time telling stories ( I may tell later..) but try to sum up through pictures..In this blog pictures of 1983 visit to Germany.. Visited Germany again in 1997 (Berlin - East side), 2007 (Dusseldorf & Munich) & 2013 (Munich). These are pictures of 1983:

Mr PL Modi, Mr MR Kedia, Myself & Mr Prasad (Top) on a river cruise on Rhine, Mr Helmut Litters (SMS) & me at Cologne (Middle) at Klon main stations (Bottom)

 I visited a grand zoo at Duisburg.. a demand from my little girl Shweta before departure who read some where about this zoo including its Dolphin show..
Stalactite caves on way to Hilchenbach from Dusseldorf. Could not believe that time that 120 km road trip will be over in about 1 hour !

Party at 26 Oberbilker Alle..

Busy marketing - My first in Europe
We shifted to new apartment on other side of Rhine in Apr-1983 with Late Dr KG Pandey,  Mr PK Sinha & Mr MR Kedia

Comments invited !

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Talking to TV Vaidyanathan

2 days ago I got a call from an unknown number... It was a surprise a call from Mr TV Vaidyanathan. I had come across this brilliant Mechanical or more accurately a Mechanical Project Manager during erection and commissioning of MECON's Skin Pass Mill at Salem. One of 2 engineer (other was Mr Sugatahan)  who knew mechanical erection according to  Mr Munshi - who headed their department in MECON.

Sri Vaidyanathan (TVV) is a nice gentleman a go getter and never say die type of person. During Salem E&C days we used to use his temporary liquor license for buying our drinks. During Vizag project days we came to know his prowess in use of PC's - including games (never my forte) and in playing cards. His wife was a proficient classical singer and sang over Radio  and other places. Later on she did not keep well & was ill and had many medical complications. She expired in 2009. As informed TVV's daughter is married of & is in Delhi.

Wish a very happy retired / re- employed life to TVV. It was so nice to talk to a old colleague

Saturday, April 23, 2011

From Bokaro Steel to MECON - the change which changed the life

Were there no Emergency in India my life would not have been so exciting !

How ? Let us roll back a little to 1977 ..

Janata Party - a conglomeration of anti Congress and anti Emergency political parties  overthrows Indira Gandhi Govt by thumping Majority after dark days of Emergency.

Late Mr Biju Patnaik,  Steel Minister in new dispensation goes ahead to set aside earlier decision to have Russian Mills and gives the order for new CRM-II complex to MECON with Wean United Inc of USA.  

Thus MECON - a leading Steel Consultancy Company - got the order for CRM-II in 1977 and  MECON had to play dual role as consultant as well as supplier of equipment for SAIL- Bokao Steel. In view of this new job some 17 electrical engineers were selected from Bokaro Steel Ltd for parallel transfer to MECON - both companies were subsidiary to SAIL at that time.

I along with many of my friends Mr SB Mukherjee, Mr PC Sadhu,  Mr Prakash Chatterjee, Mr Udai Singh, Mr Prabhakar, Mr NK Tamrakar, Mr KN Jana, Mr KK Mukherjee, Mr Awdhesh Ojha. Mr Tiwary. Late Mr DK Roy, Mr CD Pandey, Mr Manoranjan Dandpat and others joined MECON. It was a curious change for us. We were perfect commissioning engineers with lot of and  variety of hands on commissioning experience and we had to prove our selves in design and engineering organization. We thought the new job easy earlier learning later that it was anyway not so very difficult.

That time electrical department in MECON was in 3 parts Electrical-1 headed by Mr Mathai C.E, which did Electrical Power and Distribution, Electrical-2 headed by Mr BP Sarkar, CDE which did Rolling Mills and Processing Lines (Both Supply jobs and Consultancy) and Electrical-3 - headed by Mr PS Sharma, E.M which did all remaining things for Steel and Iron Making. Myself was picked by Mr BP Sarkar for posting in Electrical-2 (RM&AED) under Mr K Ramadurai- who over turned earlier decision to post me in Electrical-1.
I alomngwith my friend Mr SB Mukherjee and others joined Rolling Mill - supply part of Electrical-2 lovingly called United Wing due to MECON's collaboration with Wean United Inc. We were put under Mr BP Goyal - a tough task master. He later resigned from MECON to work with Road Master Cycles at Rishikeh and later in Jindal Stainless Ltd. I rejoined under him as VP-Projects in JSL during my short stint in 2006-2007.

We used to work in what was called "Apna Bazar Building" in main road of Ranchi - then in Bihar State. Driving a scooter in Ranchi road without road devider and lot of Rikshaws was a nightmare for most of us who had seen wide roads in Bokaro. However I was comfortable driving here and 2 of my friends needed me to drive them to Firaya Lal chowk when required.

One interesting thing which happened during our initial days in MECON was that - me and SB Mukherjee will criticize Mr BP Goyal (I have lot of respect for him now) in Bengali thinking he won't understand us. Later we got a shock when we heard him talking fluent Bengali - due to his earlier posting in Durgapur. My journey with MECON had begun..