Presidential election is around the corner! The next few weeks will be the busiest for all the politicians and their supporters. All top politicos will be drafting, launching and marketing on their policy propagandas during this period. The policies on developing infrastructure such as road network, construction of high-rise buildings, electricity generation, water supply etc. will be in the discussion. The entire spectrum of topics under this conversation are directly and indirectly are engineering themes. Though engineering topics are heavily discussed by non-engineering community the involvement of engineers is remarkably low in these discussions.

The direct involvement to the party politics is one's own liberty. What I want to discuss here is not about such an involvement of engineers in politics which is entirely a different kind of a ball game. The involvement of engineering professionals in the national policy level deliberations is the requirement of the hour. This contribution is seriously lacking. In the absence of this positive involvement of engineers the society will be at a disadvantage and the benefits are only for the corrupted politicos and their followers.

Engineers should initiate solutions to mankind using the concepts of natural sciences and discoveries. In achieving this the resources must be used objectively as those are not in abundance. Therefore, leaving the resources for our future generations while consuming those with care is a must. This is the social obligation common for all citizens, yet the engineers should follow this cardinal principle as they can influence a large community through their acts. We should endorse the use of technology towards the protection of the masses. Engineers should lead the process of infrastructure development in a manner where the natural environment is protected. The environmental impact must be integrated into the planning process so that only projects causing minimal impact to the environment are embarked on; rather than only seeking to mitigate the negative impacts later on at the implementation stage.

Further while emphasizing importance of investment in infrastructure towards the growth of the society, it is to be noted that the procurements especially in large scale projects should be seriously evaluated beforehand and implement on the best terms for our society, without committing succeeding generations to a massive debt burden. As large infrastructure projects have tremendous scope for corruption, especially those based on unsolicited proposals, and assert that good financial & engineering discipline is essential for development.

The above facts essentially highlight the prime importance of the correctly disciplined practices of the engineering professionals towards the betterment of the society. This too emphases the importance of the proactive contribution of engineers over the actions of power greedy politicians. As engineers, are we ready for that?


 The Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka, 120/15 Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo 00700