Sepia-tinted memories come alive at PEC alumni meet
Over 600 alumni from the batches of 1954, 1964, 1969, 1974, 1989, 1999, 2009, and 2014 attended the PEC alumni meet
Old shenanigans were recounted, life notes were compared and the chasm between the past, present and future was bridged at the Global Annual Alumni Meet held at Punjab Engineering College (PEC) on Saturday.
Over 600 alumni from the batches of 1954, 1964, 1969, 1974, 1989, 1999, 2009, and 2014 attended the event. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) director general Atul Karwal, who was the chief guest, reflected on his time as part of the 1983 mechanical engineering batch, and the vibrant atmosphere of campus life. Karwal also underscored the enduring benefits of pursuing an engineering or technical degree, not only for civil examinations, but also for navigating life’s challenges: “Being an engineer, literally provided me with the competence to lead a career in police. We have to look at technology strongly, otherwise we might be left behind. Having pursued engineering in any field, gives you a great start,” he said.
Of Rajma Chawal, Rasgulla and 7 decades of friendship
Among the distinguished guests were GR Kalra, Sharan, and Inder Kumar Sanan from the Civil Engineering Class of 1954, the oldest batch at the PEC Alumni Meet. The three of them have been friends for the past 70 years. Their enduring friendship of 70 years was celebrated amid shared memories of hostel life and beloved rasgulla treats. Speaking on the occasion, Kalra said, “PEC knit together our stories and helped us work through everything. We didn’t have mobile phones like this generation, but we had our share of fun.”
Narendra Sharma of the 1964 electrical engineering batch, who retired as chairperson of MTNL, Asia Pacific Region, said that the one thing he deeply missed was the rajma chawal on campus.
Shakti Bhushan Prasher of the 1969 Aeronautical batch, an Indian Air Force veteran, who initiated efforts to provide PEC with an MI-8 helicopter with two TV-2 engines to PEC in 2004, said, “In my tenure as senior engineering officer, I completed approximately 25,000 flying hours without any incident or accident on three different variants of aircraft used for conveyance of VVIPs. I retired as the Air Officer Commanding of a BRD (base repair depot). When I was a student at PEC, there were not many options to gain practical knowledge, which is why I have ensured that the institute has a helicopter for students to study rotors, controls, and gear box. This not only helps students to get practical knowledge but encourages them to join Indian forces and serve the nation.”
With PEC seeing more male admissions as compared to women, Mridula Grover of the 1984 batch from the production department encouraged women to opt for engineering courses. “I am the first woman who passed out of the production department of PEC, and I have since then worked with big firms such as Eicher Motors Limited and Maruti Suzuki. The institute sees fewer women students every year. I still recall that my batch had just 12 women. Engineering has a vast scope and provides solutions to this tech-savvy world. Women must come forward in this field that provides vast opportunities”, she said.
PEC director Baldev Setia explained the development and research activities that had taken place over the past few years. He praised different members of faculty and students who had received awards recently.
The batch of 1988 donated two e-vehicles, an e-Scooter and an e-cart to their alma mater. Pankaj Gupta, son of the late Sat Parkash Gupta (Batch of 1962), donated ₹57 lakhs to support the education of two girl students.
The event was organised by Punjab Engineering College Old Student Association (PECOSA), which is led by president Teekam Chander Bali, with an official sponsorship from ‘Studds’. Studds chairperson Madhu Khurana donated ₹2 lakh for students attaining the top three positions in aeronautical engineering, earmarking ₹1 lakh, ₹60,000 and ₹40,000, respectively. “The scholarship will help more Kalpana Chawlas to emerge on the PEC campus,” he said.