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Story of striving, scaling & succeeding - Leading consultancy body, mecon, to complete 50 years

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By M. GANGULY in Ranchi
  • Published 30.03.08

Ranchi, March 30: For this consultancy firm, it’s 50 years and counting!

Come Tuesday and Mecon Limited, one of the largest body of consultants in the field of engineering based in the city, will step into the 50th year of its eventful existence.

For them, it has been a long journey indeed. What began as a small bureau of Hindustan Steel Limited (HSL), the first public sector steel company, grew to become a full-fledged firm with its operations expanding beyond consultancy.

Though a state-owned company, it has also accepted assignments for the private sector. And now it has engaged into consultancy, design and detailed engineering in metals (both ferrous and non-ferrous), power, infrastructure, oil and gas sectors.

Steel plant consultancy possibly began in India with Charles Page Perin in 1904, who was supervising investigation work until the site for Jamshedji Tata’s proposed steel plant was finalised in Sakchi at Jamshedpur. Perin was an eminent consulting engineer of New York and was qualified to undertake the geological work.

After nearly five decades, Minu Nariman Dastur opened the first consultancy and worked for the Joda ferro-manganese plant of the Tatas.

After a few years, when the government began setting up steel plants in the country, a need to have an in-house design, engineering and consultancy unit arose.

Thus, in 1959, the Central Engineering and Designing Bureau (CEDB) came into existence to meet the requirement of HSL.

Subsequently, CEDB grew as Metallurgical and Engineering Consultant (Mecon), a subsidiary of the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL).

Now it functions as an autonomous body under the Union government’s ministry of steel and mines.

Over the past few years, Mecon has provided consultancy services in design and engineering with massive expansive work in Bhilai, Durgapur and Rourkela steel plants.

Later, when Bokaro and Bhilai plants began their 4-million tonne expansion plan after the Soviet experts had left, Mecon took up the job.

At present, the company is carrying out the modernisation of all steel plants, said Rana S. Chakravarty, its chief of communications.

The company has also worked on the Sriharikota Space Centre from where PSLV-C6 was successfully launched.

“It has made us proud,” Rana said, adding that they had completed Tamil Nadu Electricity Board’s coal handling plant with a capacity of 4,000-tonne coal per minute before time.

“In oil, gas and petrochemical sectors, we cover a whole range of activities from refineries and LPG bottling plants to transportation,” he added.

But the company has had its share of bad days, too, with many good engineers leaving the company or taking voluntary retirement at the time, said a group of employees, who have been a part of Mecon over several years.

But things change and in the last fiscal, the company had earned profits of over Rs 20 crore, said one of the employees, hoping that this year they would cross the figure.