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Brief Profile

Dr. Manoj Datta is currently Professor and Head of Civil Engineering Department at IIT Delhi where he has been teaching and conducting research since 1980. He has held the office of Director of PEC University of Technology Chandigarh from 2008 to 2013 (on lien from IITD) and also the office of Dean (Alumni & International Programmes) at IIT Delhi from 2004 to 2007.

Dr. Manoj Datta was born in the year 1955 in the town of Jallandhar in Punjab, India. His early years were at Nangal township where his father was posted as an engineer involved in the design and construction of the prestigious Bhakra Dam and the Beas Satluj Link Project. Dr. Datta finished his school education from St. John’s High School at Chandigarh.

Prof. Datta obtained his B.Tech (Civil Engg.) from IIT Delhi in 1977, with a Director’s Silver Medal for standing first amongst the graduating students and then obtained his PhD degree from the same institute in 1980.

His areas of specialization include geotechnical engineering, soil mechanics, foundation engineering, ground engineering, earth dams, landfill engineering, design of ash ponds & tailings ponds and geo-environmental engineering.

He has edited three books in the areas of landfills, solid waste management and ash ponds and also the 1800-page proceedings of the 6th International Congress on Environmental Geotechnics. He has co-authored a text book for undergraduate students titled “Geotechnical Engineering” with Prof. S.K Gulhati. He has published over 120 papers in journals and conferences. He has guided 7 PhD thesis and over 50 MTech thesis.

Prof. Datta has been consultant to over 120 projects in the areas of geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering. He has been involved in planning design, construction and remediation of several waste disposal sites in India including HW landfills, MSW landfills, ash ponds and tailings ponds.

He has been the Principal Investigator for 5 sponsored projects funded by DST, ONGC and others and was the India team leader for the project “Protection of Environment in Asia” funded by the European Commission in which institutions from Netherlands, Germany and China were also partners.

He has been associated with the Central Pollution Control Board, Ministry of Environment and Forests as well as Ministry of Urban Development in framing of guidelines and design manuals for Municipal Solid Waste landfills and Hazardous Waste landfills.

He has visited Stanford University, Harvard University and MIT in the US, Imperial College, Cambridge University and Cardiff University in UK, Tianjin University in China, IHE and TU Delft in Netherlands and Waterloo and McGill Universities in Canada.

Prof. Datta has received five best-paper awards of the Indian Geotechnical Society. He was awarded the Indian Geotechnical Society (Delhi Chapter) Leadership Award in July 2008 and was awarded the honor of delivering the prestigious IGS Annual Lecture in 2011 at the Indian Geotechnical Conference at Kochi.


Recent Research & Development

Environmental Geotechnics
Prof. Datta and his group at IIT Delhi spearheaded the efforts to introduce the subject of Environmental Geotechnics in the post graduate curriculum of geotechnical engineering in the country. The first Curriculum Development Workshop on this topic was held at IIT Delhi in 1995 to develop the syllabus which was then circulated to all major PG Institutions. AICTE included this syllabus as an elective in their model curriculum on Civil Engineering. IIT Delhi became the first Institute in India to upgrade its MTech program from “Geotechnical Engineering” to “Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering” in 2003. Prof. Datta has been subsequently involved in holding several short courses and workshops on this topic for teachers of educational institutes and in helping central / state authorities in their efforts relating to planning, design, construction and remediation of waste disposal sites in India including HW landfills, MSW landfills, ash ponds, tailings ponds and contaminated sites.

Design Manuals & Guidelines
From 2000 onwards Prof. Datta contributed technical inputs to the Ministry of Urban Development as well as Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Central Pollution Control Board for framing rules, design manuals and guidelines relating to disposal and containment of solid waste; he is the principal contributor to the following national-level manuals and guidelines published by them (these are followed by all municipalities and state pollution regulatory authorities in the country): (i) Chapter 17 (75 pages) on “Landfills” in “Manual on Municipal Solid Waste Management (2000)” Published by CPHEEO, Ministry of Urban Development; (ii) 4 manuals/guidelines on “Criteria For Hazardous Waste Landfills (2001)”, “Manual for Design Construction and Quality Control of Liners and Covers for Hazardous Waste Landfills (2002)”, “Alternate Coal Ash Transportation and Disposal Systems for Thermal Power Plants (2003)”, “Guidelines and Checklist for Evaluation of MSW Landfill Proposals with Information on Existing Landfills”, all published by Central Pollution Control Board, Ministry of Environment & Forests.

MSW and HW Landfills, Waste Dumps and Contaminated Sites
Prof. Datta and his associates have carried out extensive research on liners and covers for solid waste facilities. They have been involved in improving the design, construction and monitoring of the first few well-designed Hazardous Waste Landfills which have come up in industrial areas across India including those at Ankleshwar in Gujarat, Baddi, in Himachal, Kochi in Kerala and Dahej in Gujarat. Prof. Datta has also guided the efforts to close and remediate some of the 20m+ high Municipal Solid Waste Dumps of India including those at Gorai and Deonar in Mumbai, Ghazipur in Delhi. Technical inputs have also been provided for remediation of NMK Lake in Andhra Pradesh, closure of Dhapa MSW Dumpsite in Kolkatta and remediation of chromium contaminated sites in Hooghly District of West Bengal.

Ash Ponds and Mine Tailings Ponds
Prof. Datta, along with his other colleagues, have done extensive laboratory work and field work on engineering behavior of coal ash and mine tailings. They have helped thermal power stations and mining companies in reducing the environmental impact and improving the stability of dykes of coal ash ponds at Rajghat and Indraprastha in Delhi, Ramagundam, Visakhapatnam, Bhatinda and Ropar, amongst others, as well as mine tailings ponds at Zawar, Rajpura _ Dariba, Agnigundala, Hutti and Kudremukh.

Ten Recent Research Papers

  • Singh, R.K., Datta, M. and Nema, A.K. (2009), “A New System for Ground Water Contamination Hazard Rating of Landfills” Journal of Environmental Management, Springer, Vol. 91, pp. 344 – 357.
  • Jakka, Ravi S., Datta, M., and Ramana, G.V., (2010), “ Liquefaction Behaviour of Loose and Compacted Pond Ash”, Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, Elsevier, Vol. 30, pp. 580 - 590
  • Singh, R.K., Datta, M., and Nema, A.K., (2010), “ Review of Ground Water Hazard Rating System For Old Landfills”, Waste Management & Research, Sage Publications, London, Vol. 28, pp 97 – 108.
  • Haneberg, W., Gurung, N., Ramana, G., and Datta, M. (2010), “ Engineering Geology and Stability of Laprak Landslide, Gorkha District, Western Nepal”, Environmental & Engineering Geoscience, Association of Engineering Geologists and Geological Society of America,( #EEG-1191R)
  • Singh, R.K., Datta, M., and Nema, A.K., (2010) “ A Time Dependent System System for Evaluating Ground water Contamination Hazard Rating of Municipal Solid Waste Dumps”, Environmental Modeling and Assessment, Elsevier, Netherlands,Vol 15(6), pp 549-567.
  • Singh, R.K., Datta, M., and Nema, A.K. (2010) “Factoring site age in evaluation of groundwater contamination hazard rating of abandoned MSW landfill sites”, ASCE Journal of Environmental Engineering, Vol 137(11), pp 1092-98.
  • Datta, M., (2012) , “Geotechnology for Environmental Control at Waste Disposal Sites”, Indian Geotechnical Journal, Springer, Vol. 42, No. 1, pp1-36
  • Singh, R.K., Datta, M., and Nema, A.K., (2013), “Evaluating groundwater contamination hazard rating of MSW landfills using a new system – case studies”, Journal of Hazardous, Toxic and Radioactive Waste, ASCE, Vol17(1), pp 62-73.
  • Khanna, Rajesh, Datta, Manoj and Ramana, G,V, (2014), “Influence of Inclination of Thin Core on Stability of Upstream Slope of Earth and Rockfill Dams” Electronic Journal of geotechnical Engineering, Volume 19, Bund. U, pp 6293 -6306.
  • Kumar, A., Datta, M., Nema, A. K. and Singh, R. K. (2015), “An Improved Rating System for Assessing Surface Water Contamination Potential from MSW Landfills”, Environmental Modeling and Assessment. Springer, DOI: 10.1007/s10666-015-9493-z.
  • Khanna, R., Datta, M., and Ramana, G.V., (2015), “Influence of Thickness of Vertical Core on Slope Stability of Earth and Rockfill dams”, Journal of Dams and Reservoirs, British Dam Society, Vol. 24, Issue 4, pp. 152-167.