Nepal Geotechnical Society Delegation met with the Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Honorable Raghubir Mahaseth at the ministry in Singha Durbar premises on 17 June 2019 (Monday, B.S. 2 Ashadh 2076). It was a follow up meeting with the minister after he instructed NGS executive committee officials, when he was invited to the recent Silver Jubilee Celebration Program, to hold a discussion on how to develop the field of geotechnical engineering in Nepal. The meeting focused on the agenda below, and the minister has instructed Deputy Director General of the Department of Roads, Mr. Shiva Prasad Nepal (also an NGS executive member) and the NGS officials to form a committee to identify specific issues to be addressed immediately by the ministerial orders or cabinet decisions.

Flow of the Meeting:

14:00 – 14:05 Purpose of delegation (Netra Prakash Bhandary, NGS President)

14:05 – 14:15 A brief introduction to Geotechnical Engineerng, geotechnical engineers in Nepal, and Nepal Geotechnical Society (Mandip Subedi, NGS GS)

14:15 – 14:25 Delegation agenda and requests from Nepal Geotechnical Society (NGS President)

14:25 – 14:50 Free discussion, Q&A (each speaker will be restricted to put the question and answer in only 2-3 minutes)

14:50 – 15:00 Response, Commitment, and Closing Remarks (Honorable Minister)

15:00 – 15:05 Memorial group photo

List of Agenda

1. Importance of geotechnical engineering in nation building

The role of geotechnical engineering in infrastructure design/development (e.g., dams, tunnels, roads and bridges, airports, canals, residential and commercial buildings, electric power line towers, metro and mono rails, railways, river training work, land development, etc.); importance of geotechnical engineering; long-term vision for developing geotechnical engineering in Nepal; Nepal-appropriate geotechnology.

2. Position of geotechnical engineers and geotechnical engineering-related organizations in the world

The big gap between the geotechnics in developed and developing nations; education content is the same but implementation methods are different; huge difference because of mechanized and manual construction methods, design standards and design manuals, licensing and recognition system, etc.

3. Position of geotechnical engineers in Nepal

Still very poorly recognized; no proper system in the government to recognize a geotechnical engineer (difference in domestic and international identifying system); experienced-based recognition system more prevalent; less number of geotechnical engineers compared to the amount of work and potentiality in the country, etc.

4. Fields and places to develop and to be supported by the government

All government institutions that deal with geotechnical engineering issues (e.g., department of roads, roads development board, department of local infrastructure development and agricultural roads, department of civil aviation, department of water induced disaster prevention, nepal electricity authority, department of railways, department of water resources and irrigation, department of electricity development, department of urban development and building construction, etc.) must have geotechnical engineers and experts; government-owned geotechnical engineering-related testing facilities and research institutions need to be developed/promoted; research facilities at government and private academic institutions must be supported by the government through research fund awarding system or similar other methods.

5. Government and expert committees to develop design standards, design guidelines, and construction manuals

Immediate need of preparing and publishing geotechnical design standards, design guidelines and construction method manuals in all sectors of geotechnical engineering (as listed in agenda no. 1) through special committees formed of government officials and geotechnical engineering experts (from within the nation and/or overseas); must move at least with a time frame of three years.

6. Geotechnical design standards and stricter implementation in all sectors

Immediate implementation of geotechnical design standards in all sectors; implementation system must be made stricter through government institutions.

7. Infrastructure development manuals

Preparation of construction manuals for all items of geotechnical structures and elements so as to have the same/similar structures all over the nations except for a few special cases.

8. Professional Engineer (Geotechnical Engineering Filed) recognition system (Engineering Council?)

Recognition system for professional engineers in geotechnical engineering field through Nepal Engineering Council (?) must be immediately started.

9. Government support to professional societies

Professional societies in Nepal (those who are more for development of a particular field of study and research) need government support so as to compete or to go neck-to-neck with the international societies and organizations; finance is one of the major issues so it needs to be eased by the government through some sort of competitive grants (such as in the form of research grant and experts fee); possibilities of office space (e.g., in a common government-owned facility) lending either free of cost or in subsidized pay system; not only NGS but the government support must go to all professional societies that potentially help the government in all sectors of nation building.

10. Government-NGS collaborations

In the fields of geotechnical structures and elements as listed in agenda no. 1, there must be collaboration between government agencies and Nepal Geotechnical Society as and when necessary and appropriately.