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As the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) completed 160 years of service to the nation recently, the principal engineering organisation of the government received both compliments for its contribution and words of caution to withstand competition.

President Pranab Mukherjee and Minister of Urban Development and Housing & Poverty Alleviation M Venkaiah Naidu while recalling the contribution of CPWD urged the construction giant to be alive to the emerging challenges.

In his inaugural address, Mukherjee urged the organisation to evolve into “a smarter, more dynamic and highly professional organisation” by benchmarking itself with the best in the world. Stating that “it is understandable that old organisations are often burdened with out-dated practices”, the President urged CPWD “to focus on areas where innovation and modernisation in the infrastructure sector can lead to accelerated economic development”.

He suggested in this regard that CPWD should look at providing last-mile connectivity of rural roads, health and educational infrastructure, water supply and sanitation. Referring to sustainable habitats as the need of the hour and energy-efficient building as the important strategy for sustainable urban development, the President asked CPWD to “adopt innovative designs and practices for construction”. He emphasised the need for adopting state of the art procedures for maintenance of assets.

Mukherjee complimented CPWD for undertaking and complementing challenging assignments in the Rann of Kutch, Thar Desert, in high altitude areas of the Himalayas, North-Eastern Region and also in Afghanistan. He said, “I personally have had the opportunity to observe the efforts of the CPWD team in executing various projects at the Rashtrapati Bhawan”.

Naidu said, “After the long and eventful journey of 160 years, CPWD should introspect for charting its way ahead.” The minister, who recently inspected the maintenance of Nirman Bhawan, urged CPWD to focus on facilitating “an enabling working environment which has a bearing on work efficiency”. He said CPWD’s objective should be 3 Cs (Conceptualise, Compete and Complete in time) through a strategy of 3 S (Skill, Scale and Speed).

He felicitated former DG of CPWD Mr G S Tawarmalani with the Life Time Achievement Award for his distinguished contribution to various facets of CPWD. Other identified good performers were also felicitated with Director General’s Medals and Certificates of Appreciation.

A presentation on ‘Concept to Completion’ was made for the benefit of the President of India, Urban Development Minister and others highlighting CPWD’s approaches and accomplishments.

Anita Agnihotri, Secretary, Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation and Urban Development, V K Gupta, DG, CPWD, senior officials and former DGs of CPWD also attended the programme.

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