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April 14, 2024 1:10 am

Celebrating the achievements of the oldest alumni of PEC Retired Chief Engineer Bikram Singh Grewal who turns 100 with 80 years of professional engineering career behind him

1966 alumni of PEC

Harjap Singh Aujla

These days, when the faculty and alumni are holding the Centennial Celebration of Punjab Engineering College Chandigarh, we must not forget our senior most alumnus. At age one hundred years (a Centurian), the oldest alumni of this institution is still alive, with a brilliant and eventful career behind him.

It will be in the fitness of things and appropriate to celebrate his professional life and its major achievements. Today Mr. Bikram Singh Grewal, a retired Chief Engineer is the oldest alumni of Punjab’s oldest engineering institution. An engineering graduate of the 1943 batch of MacLagan College of Engineering Lahore (the predecessor of Punjab Engineering College Chandigarh) was born in the village Lalton district Ludhiana on February 15, 1923. His childhood was spent in his native village Lalton, bereft of electricity and most other present day taken for granted civic amenities. He passed the middle-class examination from the District Board Middle School Lalton in 1936 in first division.

He passed his matriculation examination from Malwa Khalsa High School Ludhiana in 1938 in the first division. For his faculty of science education, he got admission in the prestigious Khalsa College Amritsar. From this iconic institution, he passed his Faculty of Science Non-Medical Examination in 1940. For his professional education he got admission in MacLagan College of Engineering Lahore in 1940. He passed his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1943.

After undergoing a six-month-long practical training in the field of engineering in September of 1944, he got selected for undivided British Punjab’s Public Works Department Buildings and Roads Branch. At the time of independence of India, the Province of Punjab was bifurcated on August 15, 1947. His services were transferred to East Punjab. At that time Haryana was a part of East Punjab. In 1951, he was promoted to the title of executive engineer. His posting as the Executive Engineer at Rupar (later on Ropar or Roopnagar) was technically very rewarding.

In that capacity, he built the old wing of the Punjab Engineering College Chandigarh. He also constructed new wings of the Government Medical College in Amritsar while posted at Amritsar and the Government Medical College Patiala while being posted at Patiala. He also built a new Medical College at Rohtak, which was then the third government medical college of the state.

He was promoted as a superintending engineer in 1963, his first posting as the superintending engineer was in Hissar (now Hisar). He built the Government Medical College Rohtak during his stint in what is now Haryana. All along he enjoyed the reputation of being a scrupulously honest officer. Subsequently in 1971 he became the chief engineer at a relatively young age and was posted in Patiala. From this position he retired in 1981 after a decade long meritorious service.

Now he resides in Chandigarh in his golden years. The Punjab Engineering College Old Students Association (PECOSA) was planning on honoring him with a lifetime achievements award on the annual day of the institution being celebrated on February 11, 2023. He presented a shawl on that occasion.

His actual birthday fell on February 15, 2023. It was celebrated in his son Justice Anoopinder Singh Grewal’s residence. Some of his former subordinates and alumni of PEC joined the celebrations. A plaque was presented to him.

(harjapaujla@gmail.com)

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