March 31, 2014


Indian Railways plans to complete the Chenab Bridge in Jammu and Kashmir by 2016, making it the world's highest rail bridge. The bridge will be five times higher than Delhi's Qutub Minar and far taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It is being constructed across Chenab river-bed in Salal village of Reasi district. It is a part of project that will connect Baramulla and Srinagar to Jammu via Udhampur-Katra-Qazigund covering the entire route in about seven hours. Currently, it takes exactly double the time - 13 hours - to reach Jammu from Baramulla in northern Kashmir, which is 60 km from Srinagar.
Indian Railways has undertaken the Jammu-Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Line (JUSBRL) mega-project construction which has been declared a national project. The alignment is a combination of a large number of tunnels and bridges. The alignment crosses a deep gorge of the Chenab River, near Salal Hydro Power Dam, which necessitated construction of a long span bridge.
The bridge will have a lifespan of 120 years and will contribute to the economic development, better transportation accessibility to the state and the country.The height of Chenab Bridge is 390 meters exceeding the current tallest bridge on France’s Tarn River (tallest pillar rises 340 meters while the actual height at which trains run on the bridge is 300 meters). 
The construction of the JUSBRL was started in 2003 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime minister. Construction of the Jammu-Udhampur section was completed and opened in April 2005. The project was stopped in September 2008 when the construction of bridge was announced to be unsafe despite the completion of the approach viaducts in 2007. Difficult geological conditions, access problems, tunnel excavation difficulties, labor disputes and development of a lower, more direct route through tunnels were cited as reasons. The alignment of the JUSBRL project was reviewed to give solutions for the challenges faced. In 2009, the review was submitted to the Railway Board and was approved. The design of the bridge, however, was approved in July 2012. The construction of the project restarted in 2010, and has now been declared a national project. As of early 2013, the latest word is that the original route is back on track and the bridge will be built as originally planned.

March 12, 2014


“Tell me I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
                                                                                                        - Ben Franklin

As the quote mentioned above says everyone will learn when they get involved in whatever they do. Institutionalising quality in an organisation is one such activity where everyone should be involved so that they learn about it and strive to make it a part of their day to day activity and integrate it with the organisation. This article gives you a framework to institutionalise quality in an organisation by describing the essential components for quality assurance and facilitates the processes required to achieve it. This framework has been tested in many countries and can be applied at any level from small shop floors to organisations.

The QA model:
The entire model is built around Quality which forms the core of the Quality Assurance model (QA Model). The Quality assurance is encompassed by three components which forms the basis of quality, they are QD – Quality Definition, QM – Quality Measurement and QI – Quality Improvement. Every organisation must define what quality is, then quantify it and measure it so that it can improve it further continuously. For example, Ritz Carlton hotels developed Service Quality Indicators (SQI) to keep track of the quality of their customer services.
The core quality activities must be supported by the 3 components shown in the figure so that there is effective implementation and integration of quality with the organisation. The enabling environment represents the organisational support rendered in the institutionalisation process. Anything in the industry can be done only when there is commitment and support from the top level management of the organisation. The top level management should provide the essential environment in the organisation by providing necessary policies for initial implementation with well-directed leadership for guidance in implementation with proper allocation of necessary resources in terms of man, machine, money and material. This should be planned in such a way to sustain it so that quality gets institutionalised should lead to the integration of quality in the core values of the organisation. Toyota’s quality assurance is based on its core principle of “Customer first, Quality first and go & see at the scene” which provides an environment fruitful for quality implementation.

Once the organisation is through in getting the support of the organisation in implementation of the quality by creating the necessary environment it should move to the next stage in the QA model , Organising for Quality (i.e.) creating a proper structure in the organisation for quality. It involves processes like delineation of responsibilities among teams within the organisation. Team work plays a crucial role in giving a structure to the implementation process. There is no particular structure as such, it is up to the organisation to decide how to form teams for this process according to them. South west Airlines used 12 different teams to maintain their quality in providing shortest flight turnarounds by proper handling of passengers and their luggage every day.